March 2019

Teenager ‘was sent child abuse images as he explored Instagram’

A teenager described as a struggling, vulnerable loner ended up in court after he was sent child abuse images while “exploring Instagram”.

Ryan Kemp was 17 when his account on the social media photography platform caught the police’s attention.

He stepped forward immediately and said he was responsible when officers came to his home, Teesside Crown Court heard on Wednesday.

They seized three devices including a tablet and a phone, and found 13 illegal still pictures of children.

These were described as 10 indecent images and three computer-generated images by prosecutor Harry Hadfield.

The photos were of vulnerable pre-pubescent boys as young as three and four, the court was told.

Mr Hadfield added: “The defendant said straight away that people were sending him images.

“He set up an account on Instagram in 2017 and he did receive indecent images from people.

“He said they were grown-up men with kids in the images, engaging in sexual activity.

“There are a number of different victims.

“He must have been engaging in a network and he must have been searching for those images.”

Kemp, of Holbeck Walk, Thornaby , admitted three charges of making indecent photographs of children and one of possessing a prohibited image.

Now 18, he had never been in trouble before and the court heard he had been to therapeutic sessions with Barnardo’s.

Jeff Taylor, defending, said: “He was still an emerging person in terms of his maturity and sexuality.

“He had been exploring Instagram. He has become connected to others and he’s received these images.

“There’s no suggestion he’s been sharing those images with anybody else.”

He said Kemp had opened up to his family and had their support as he was “discovering himself and potentially adopting a normal sexual behaviour pattern”.

He added: “There’s work that still needs to be done. He needs the guidance that’s being offered.”

Judge Sean Morris said he had read a moving letter which described Kemp as a loner, struggled to make friends and led a lonely life, suffered conflicting emotions and was vulnerable on social media because of his lack of social skills.

The judge told Kemp: “In your wanderings on the internet, you ended up getting this stuff sent to you.

“Almost immediately the minute the police walked through the door you said ‘it was me’.

“I’ve been impressed not just by the early acceptance of your guilt, but by the fact of your forthright disclosure of your problems to your own family.

“You knew it was wrong and it does cross the custodial threshold.

“But you were a youth at the time, it seems that you’ve now come to terms with your sexuality, and the Probation Service are recommending they can do work with you.”

Kemp was given an eight-month detention sentence suspended for two years with 30 days’ rehabilitation activity and a treatment programme.

He was given a five-year sexual harm prevention order and will be on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.