March 2018

Perverted former foster carer jailed

A perverted former foster carer has been jailed after police found more than 600 indecent images of children in his home.

Mark Hearn, 49, was caught with the vile images as well as extreme pornography involving animals at the house where he lived with his wife and kids.

Hearn, from Walker, showed no emotion as he was sent down to begin his sentence after a judge told him he was a long way away from recovery.

The dad had claimed to police that he had no sexual interest in looking at the indecent images but Ms Recorder Jo Kidd refused to accept it.

Sitting at Newcastle Crown Court, she told him: “That explanation bears no scrutiny whatsoever.”

Despite pleas from his barrister that a chronic illness would make him a “very vulnerable” prisoner, Hearn was put behind bars for a year.

David Crook, prosecuting, told the court that police raided Hearn’s family home on Welbeck Road in January last year after receiving information that category A child abuse images had been uploaded on the internet from that address.

Officers discovered 172 items of category A images which included 30 videos, 129 category B images which included one video and 335 category C images including five videos.

They also uncovered five videos of extreme pornography involving sexual activity between humans and animals.

The court heard that the offences had been committed over a period of 10 years.

Hearn pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children and one count of possessing extreme pornography.

Mr Crook said that Hearn had entered a guilty plea in February on the basis that he did not have a sexual interest in the abuse images but the prosecution disputed this.

He added: “It is quite clear from the facts that the defendant appears to have chosen to preserve the images by copying them onto a disk. He clearly wanted to store them.”

He also told the court that Hearn had one previous conviction for theft in 2015 when he served a sentence of 10 months in prison

Hearn, now of Cleadon Street, Walker, was also ordered to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years and was made subject of a sexual harm prevention order for five years.