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Hartlepool child porn man is spared jail

Richard Thompson stored child porn
Richard Thompson stored child porn

A family man from Hartlepool has been forced to leave his wife and children after revolting images of child abuse were found on his computer.

Richard Thompson, 36, was told by a judge he was fortunate not to be going straight to prison.

Teesside Crown Court heard his home was searched after information was received about internet traffic.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said his computer contained 113 child abuse images of the most serious category A, 66 at category B, and 78 at category C.

There were also 12 prohibited images and 23 images of extreme pornography.

Thompson, 36, of Tower Street, Hartlepool, admitted three offences of possessing indecent images, an offence of possessing a prohibited image, and an offence of possessing extreme pornography, all in November.

Andrew Teate, mitigating, said: “He is a married man with children, but has left the family home following intervention by social services.

“Mr Thompson works, earning about £1,500 a month.

“He is the only breadwinner for the family, and is concerned his family couldn’t afford to stay in their home if he loses his job by being sent to prison today.

“The Probation Service assess him as a low risk of re-offending, and say they can work with him given the opportunity.”

He said Thompson had contacted charities which work with sex offenders.

Judge Tony Briggs sentenced Thompson to 15 months in prison, suspended for two years.

He was also ordered to do 25 rehabilitation activity days and made the subject to a 10-year order banning unsupervised contact with children, and restricting internet use.

His computer was confiscated, and he must register as a sex offender for 10 years.

The judge told him: “You downloaded filthy and vile images, some showing the children in obvious distress.

“The only question is if you had to go straight to prison today.”

He added it was a “close run thing” that he could be dealt with in the community.