March 2019

Oswaldtwistle sex offender jailed for downloading memory cleaning software

A convicted sex offender who breached a court order by failing to hand over electronic items for inspection and downloading memory cleaning software has been jailed.

Andrew David Harper, of Oswaldtwistle, was given a sexual offences prevention order (SOPO) in December 2018 after he was caught in possession of more than 1,400 indecent images of children, a court heard.

Part of the order meant the 40-year-old couldn’t have any devices capable of accessing the internet unless he made them available on request by the police.

Officers of the offender management team and digital media investigation unit attended Harper’s home on Cranbrook Avenue on February 6.

Prosecutor Emma Kehoe said Harper handed over a laptop and a small computer but failed to hand over a mobile phone and 12 storage devices.

The defendant had also installed memory cleaner software and a Cloud-based storage device which was prohibited by the SOPO and also failed to tell police that he had bought a computer which was capable of accessing the internet.

Miss Kehoe said Harper was sentenced three months ago to a three-year community order after he pleaded guilty to possessing eight category A indecent images – the most serious – nine category B and 1,403 category C images.

At the time he told officers: “It’s all on my hard drive, I can’t seem to stop.”

Harper also has previous convictions for making indecent images in April 2014 and breaching a sexual harm prevention order in August 2017, the court heard.

He pleaded guilty this week to five counts of breaching a SOPO and was jailed for 12 months.

A probation service officer who interviewed the defendant told the court: “The only conclusion that the we can draw is that what we have tried so far has not been effective.

“Mr Harper hasn’t been honest with his probation officer and hasn’t fully engaged.

“Although he does keep his appointments and has previously completed an internet sex offenders programme he seems to be going through the motions rather than making changes in his thinking.”

September 2018

Man with more than 1,400 indecent images on computer says he ‘can’t believe he has done it again’

A MAN found with more than 1,400 indecent images of children on his computer told police; “I can’t believe I have done it again.”

Blackburn magistrates heard Andrew Harper added: “It’s all on my hard drive, I can’t seem to stop.”

Harper, 40, of Cranbrook Avenue, Oswaldtwistle, pleaded guilty to possessing 1,403 category C indecent images of children, nine category B images and eight category A images. He was sent on bail to Burnley Crown Court to be sentenced on November 5.

Tracy Yates, prosecuting, said officers received information that someone at the address was viewing images of children.

Harper told them he had swapped hard drives over to hide images after downloading them.

Mrs Yates said he had been sentenced to a suspended prison sentence in 2014 for possessing indecent images of children and another suspended sentence in 2017 for breaching a sexual harm prevention order.

Ben Leech, defending, said Harper was adamant he had not downloaded any images while he had been subject to a suspended sentence order.

“He is someone who has previously benefited from the intervention of the probation service,” said Mr Leech.