A twisted loner who downloaded child porn - and threatened the family of a police officer investigating his case - had his sentence slashed by top judges.
Anthony Handley, 54, from Hartlepool but of no fixed abode, was put behind bars for four years at Teesside Crown Court Court last October.
He admitted sending a malicious message, taking revenge, and two counts of making indecent images of children.
Handley collected over 600 sick photos of child abuse - with 78 of them in the most serious and degrading category, London’s Appeal Court heard.
After Handley was arrested, he began researching the investigating officer’s surname online, sending threatening messages to his cousin.
Some of the terrifying messages targeted the cousin, while others were directed at the officer himself and his mother.
One message read, “I like horror movies, we can make one together. It would be a snuff movie”.
At the crown court, Handley’s barrister, Michael Bosomworth, had described him as a mixed-up “loner”.
He accepted that the messages would have been highly disturbing for anyone reading them.
But the barrister said Handley “rarely leaves the house so there was no chance he would cause the family any direct harm”.
The case reached the Appeal Court as Handley attacked his sentence as far too tough.
Peter Collier QC emphasised the “great distress caused by these offences”.
But the judge, sitting with Lady Justice Rafferty and Mr Justice Wyn Williams, agreed the sentence was excessive and reduced it to three years.