September 2017

Hartlepool man’s child abuse images shame

A child sexual abuse images addict has been made the subject of a 10-year sexual harm prevention order.

John Leighton, 52, of Rydal Street, Hartlepool, who was of previous good character, was filled with remorse and shame, his lawyer told Teesside Crown Court.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said that police raided Leighton’s home with a search warrant on February 8 after receiving information about his activities.

When they told him why they were there, he admitted responsibility.

They seized his laptop computer which revealed he had deliberately accessed child pornography.

There were 193 images at the most serious Category A, another 294 at Category B and 1,715 at Category C, along with nine images of extreme pornography involving a dog.

She aid that the aggravating features of the case were the large number of images and that children were in pain and distress.

She added: “One aggravating feature is that there were a large number of victims. “He had been actively searching for child pornography, and he could not explain his actions.”

Judge Deborah Sherwin said: “There is no doubt that this offending does justify a custodial sentence. In your case I take the view that you would be best assisted by being treated in the community.”

Leighton was given a nine months jail sentence suspended for two years with 35 days rehabilitation activities, a 10 year sexual harm prevention order limiting his use of the Internet, and he was ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

He pleaded guilty to three charges of making indecent images of children and one of possessing extreme pornography.