Paedophile logged onto child sex abuse images on his iPad Mini, Swindon court hears

A paedophile who confessed to police officers he had deleted his internet history and accessed websites known for hosting child sex abuse images will appear before a crown court judge.

David Cottington was said to have made a “silly mistake” when he visited the two websites on his iPad internet browser’s “private” mode. The 48-year-old lorry driver admitted the offence to a police when officers visited his home in 2017.

Cottington, who pleaded guilty to breaching a sexual harm prevention order, was bailed to appear before Swindon Crown Court next month.

Swindon magistrates were told that Cottington, of Twickenham Close, Nythe, was made subject to the order by Lewes Crown Court in 2012. He was convicted of molesting girls under-13 and possession of child sex abuse images.

The sexual harm prevention order banned him from owning a device capable of accessing the internet unless it was handed to police on request and from deleting his web browsing history.

Police visited Cottington’s home in late 2017. When the officer went through his iPad, she found his internet history was blank. He confessed to using the device in “private” mode.

Prosecuting, Nick Barr suggested to magistrates the case should be sentenced at the crown court, as their powers were not sufficient. The starting point for the breach would be a year’s imprisonment.

Mark Glendenning, defending, explained his client was fine to own the iPad under the terms of the sexual harm prevention order.

“He has an iPad Mini he has purchased for entirely legitimate reasons,” he said.

Mr Glendenning told magistrates his client was a lorry driver: “He purchased the iPad for downloading films to watch on his rest periods. There’s nothing to stop him from having it. He doesn’t need to declare the fact he has it. He simply has to hand it over.”

This he did and, when police discovered the blank internet history, confessed to breaching the order.

Cottington had logged on to the sites as part of the “thrill of the chase”, said his solicitor. But he had quickly realised it was wrong and had put the iPad away.

Up until that point he had “followed every step” asked of him. Cottington had made a “silly mistake”, Mr Glendenning added.

He is due to appear before Swindon Crown Court for sentencing on June 27.