August 2018

Man caught with 630,000 pictures of child sex abuse

A paedophile with a twisted interest in babies and toddlers has been jailed after being found with more than 630,000 child abuse images.

Mark Ferguson, 56, appeared respectable and was married with children and the partner in an electronics company.

But a court heard how Ferguson used the online moniker Odeap, paedo backwards, and made contact with a serial child rapist in South America, who he encouraged to send him videos.

He has now been jailed at Newcastle Crown Court for possessing and distributing indecent images of children.

Sending him to prison for 45 months, Recorder Jo Kidd told him: ‘Your particular interest seems to be very little girls and by little girls it seems there’s a pattern of a specific interest in toddlers and babies. It’s difficult to imagine more disgusting images.’

The court heard how Ferguson used the website Gigatribe to share and receive images with fellow paedophiles all around the globe.

The judge told him: ‘You possessed then distributed a phenomenal amount of indecent images of children, including the most depraved and disgusting possible.’

The man Ferguson was communicating with in South America has also since been jailed for 23 years for attacking young family members.

Recorder Kidd said: ‘You denied in the pre-sentence report that you were motivated by a sexual interest in children. However the name you used was paedo backwards. ‘Mr Ferguson, you are a paedophile.’

Ferguson, of Baulkham Hills, Houghton-le-Spring, had no previous convictions but caught the interest of the National Crime Agency in January when he shared 213 images online in six minutes.

In February, officers searched his house and found more than 630,000 indecent images. Given the vast amount, they could not all be analysed individually but a sample revealed an even split between the three categories of seriousness.

Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw said Ferguson had classified and categorised the material as well as classifying other Gigatribe users, depending on how much he trusted them.

Mr Wardlaw said: ‘The Crown say in terms of collection and distribution this was calculated, organised and systematic and over an extremely long period of time. ‘It was worldwide distribution with thousands of recipients.’

Ferguson pleaded guilty to three offences of making indecent images and three of distributing them.

As well as jail time, he must sign the sex offenders’ register indefinitely and was made subject to a sexual harm prevention order.