May 2018

Sex offender with 86,000 child abuse pictures said he was ‘just curious’

A sex offender caught with more than six hours of sickening child abuse videos in a collection of almost 87,000 pictures claimed he was “just curious”.

Paul Haiducsi, 44, denied getting a sexual thrill out of the vast library of illegal pictures he had amassed of children as young as four.

He said he downloaded a package from the internet and “got what he clicked on”.

He was away in Romania when police raided his home on Borough Road, central Middlesbrough.

Officers found 86,789 indecent pictures of children on his laptop and two hard drives, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Jenny Haigh said the 19 most serious images included more than six hours of videos.

She said: “Some of the images show discernible pain or distress suffered by the children.”

Haiducsi confessed when he was interviewed on his return to the UK.

He said he noticed filenames linked to child abuse images on a computer in Romania 11 years ago.

After he came to England in March last year he started searching for and downloading the disturbing material.

But he claimed it was not for sexual gratification and he was “just curious” over what he had seen more than a decade earlier.

Haiducsi, now of Maple Street, Middlesbrough, admitted three charges of making indecent images of children, his first conviction.

John Nixon, defending, said Haiducsi recklessly downloaded a package and did not seek out the most serious images.

He said: “He didn’t like what he saw and they were deleted. They were never viewed again.

“He got what he clicked on.”

He said the warehouseman worked hard to support his family, who lived in “abject poverty” in Romania.

“Were he sent to an immediate sentence there would be considerable suffering by his wife and child, who would not receive the money they need in order to survive in their country,” added Mr Nixon.

The Probation Service assessed Haiducsi as a low risk of reoffending, committing sexual offences or to children.

Judge Peter Armstrong said only custody could be justified for the serious offences.

He said: “I’ve come to the conclusion because of your lack of previous convictions and the prospect of rehabilitation, that it’s an appropriate case to suspend the inevitable prison sentence.

“You clearly need the assistance of the Probation Service to address the distorted thinking that you have.”

Haiducsi was given a one-year jail term suspended for two years with 30 days’ rehabilitation activity.

He was given a sexual harm prevention order governing his internet use and will be on the sex offenders’ register, both for 10 years.