March 2018

Former children’s nurse had sickening indecent images of child abuse

A former children’s nurse got addicted to all forms of pornography, including sickening indecent images of child abuse.

James Hitch, also a former care home worker and St John Ambulance volunteer, searched the internet with terms like “paedo”, and confessed to police he “wasn’t fussy” about the ages of people in the sexual pictures he downloaded.

More than 750 disturbing images were found after police seized a hard drive, tower computer, tablet and notebook from the 35-year-old’s home on August 26 last year.

He avoided prison “by a whisker” after officers found the 754 indecent stills and videos of children on the devices, including 86 at the most serious level in law.

Prosecutor Ian West told Teesside Crown Court on Monday: “He admitted that he was, as he put it, addicted to all types of pornography which started in 2002.

“He said that he started using peer-to-peer software to download all genres of pornography, including child abuse images.

“He was downloading hundreds of images and not even looking at some of them. He admitted getting sexual gratification from them.

“The defendant did admit he’d been doing it for years.”

Hitch, of Brentford Road, Stockton, and formerly of Thornaby, was caught in a “spin-off” from a Bedfordshire Police investigation.

He admitted three charges of making indecent pictures of children

The judge, Recorder Bryan Cox QC, told Hitch:

“There must be a prison sentence and a substantial one.

“The only issue is whether I can suspend that.

“I’m going to, I’ll tell you now, but it’s by a whisker.”

He said he decided not to send Hitch away because of his early guilty pleas, frankness, previous good character and motivation to tackle his offending.

Hitch was given an 18-month prison sentence suspended for two years with a sex offender programme and 30 days’ rehabilitation activity.

Hitch was given an indefinite sexual harm prevention order banning him from unsupervised contact with girls under 16 and governing his use of the internet and devices.

He will be on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.