June 2019

Man who hoarded depraved images of ‘very young’ children spared jail to attend new rehab course

A sex offender who hoarded thousands of depraved child abuse images was spared jail to attend a new rehab course.

Craig Cameron was eventually found with more than 2,000 pictures and videos of of children – 346 in the most extreme category – after police found his old laptop at a former home.

They traced him to a new address and seized another laptop and Samsung phone, uncovering the extent of his upsetting collection – which also included extreme images involving animals.

Prosecutor Emma Atkinson told Teesside Crown Court an aggravating feature of his crimes was the “relative youth” of some of the children, and the fact they were depicted as being intoxicated with drugs or alcohol.

Judge Sean Morris said the severity of the images clearly meant the 26-year-old faced prison – but said he could suspend the sentence, after a recommendation was made that Cameron could attend a probation service rehabilitation programme, designed for “low and medium risk ” offenders, referred to in court as ‘Horizon’.

Judge Morris said he’d made the decision “to protect the public, and ensure you are properly treated and rehabilitated, so that you can try and move away from this and live a life in civilised society”.

But he warned him: “You only get one chance. A second offence, and you’re down the stairs.”

He told Cameron he material he’d gathered was “repugnant and outrageous” and said: “You are a relatively young man who has strayed into the areas of the internet where lurks evil images.”

Cameron, of Broadway East, Dormanstown, was given a 16 month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months after admitting multiple counts of making indecent images of a child and possessing extreme pornographic images.

Alongside the Horizon course, he must also undertake 30 rehabilitation days and was slapped with a seven year Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).