May 2017

‘Computer savvy’ pervert caught with sick child abuse images a second time

A sex offender was caught with images of child abuse on his computer for the second time by police officers who were monitoring him.

Francis Chown’s latest offending was revealed when he received an unannounced visit by an officer from the public protection unit.

“The defendant took the officer into his one-bedroom bedsit and it was immediately obvious he’d been using a laptop open and facing his bed,” prosecutor Rachel Masters told Teesside Crown Court today.

The officer could not find any internet history on the laptop and the “computer-savvy” 55-year-old offender said he had no idea how he could help.

Chown’s computer was seized and 74 indecent pictures of children were found on it after the visit to his home on August 12, 2015.

He said he had sole access to the machine and had viewed adult pornography but claimed he did not recall how the illegal images of children got there.

Chown, of Hartington Road, central Stockton, admitted three charges of possessing indecent photographs of children and one of possessing two images of extreme pornography.

He had a 2013 conviction and suspended prison sentence for having indecent pictures of children.

He flouted that sentence and a sexual offences prevention order by having contact with children, not telling their family he was a convicted sex offender.

For those crimes he received another six-month suspended jail term in April 2015, which he breached with his latest offences.

Alex Bousfield, defending, said Chown expressed remorse and shame and there were no difficulties since the pictures were discovered.

But there were concerns about his “ongoing fantasies”.

“He’s been told it’s a custodial sentence,” added Mr Bousfield.

“It has to be a custodial sentence. He’s breached the first suspended sentence. He’s breached the second suspended sentence.

“He’s clearly very anxious and worried about a custodial sentence.”

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, said Chown’s pre-sentence report from the Probation Service made “rather depressing reading”.

It said Chown initially claimed he had no idea how the indecent images found their way on to his computer and he tried to play down his behaviour.

The judge told Chown: “When you were before this court in April 2015 you had been told what would happen should you commit any further offences during the currency of that suspended sentence.

“With those words ringing in your ears you went on to commit these offences. Within four months you are looking at these images.

“I say this repeatedly – this is not a victimless crime. You may think it’s without a victim looking at these images in your home.

“They are real children being made to carry out these acts. It most certainly does have victims. These poor children have to carry out those acts for your pleasure.”

He jailed Chown for 18 months.

April 2015

Convicted sex offender is caught out breaching his SOPO

A CONVICTED sex offender who changed where he lived while on family business was caught out by police monitoring.

Francis Chown moved his address temporarily from Stockton to Romney in Kent to help sort out his dead father’s affairs.

While the 52-year-old was down south, he became friendly with a couple who had two girls and a boy all aged under 15.

Because of a conviction last May, he was banned from having contact with children without supervision or their parents knowing about it.

When police contacted the family, they discovered that Chown had not told them he was a convicted sex offender.

He had been given a six-month suspended prison sentence and a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for possessing indecent images of children.

Prosecutor David Crook told Teesside Crown Court that there was no allegation of sexual offences involving the children in Kent.

But he added: “The orders are monitored very strictly by the public protection unit and he was regularly asked questions about whether he was having contact with children.”

Chown, of Hartington Road, pleaded guilty to breaching the SOPO and the suspended prison sentence.

Judge Peter Bowers said: “I am satisfied that these offences were committed in pretty unusual circumstances when you were clearing out your father’s house and you had contact with a family of two girls.”

Chown was given a six-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months, with supervision.

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