June 2018

Cleaner amassed huge haul of indecent child material over last decade

A night cleaner, described as, “a solitary figure”, was found to have a huge haul of indecent material featuring children on his home computer equipment.

Police armed with a search warrant visited John Chapman’s home in George Street, Barnard Castle, on July 6 last year.

Durham Crown Court heard officers removed several devices onto which subsequent analysis revealed indecent images, both still and moving footage, had been downloaded and stored between August 2009 and last July.

Phillip Morley, prosecuting, said there were 20 still and 143 moving images, featuring girls as young as five being abused.

Mr Morley said the total length of the footage just in the most serious category lasted 12 hours and 37 minutes, while there were also 1,362 prohibited images of children being abused, mostly cartoon and computer generated, plus two moving images classed as extreme pornography, featuring scenes of bestiality, involving adult women.

When initially interviewed Chapman made some admissions, telling police they would probably find prohibited images.

He told them he had an interest in fetishes and, “may have” an interest in teenage children.

Chapman, 38, who is of previous good character, admitted three counts of making indecent images of a child, plus possession of prohibited images of children, and extreme pornography, when he appeared before magistrates, in April.

Judge Simon Hickey said the amount of imagery involved aggravated the defendant’s position, but, due to the defendant’s willingness to seek help to address his “deviancy” he could suspend the inevitable sentence.

The judge passed a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years, during which Chapman must attend 30 probation rehabilitation activity days

He will also be subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and registration as a sex offender, both for life.