A MAN who admitted to viewing images of sexually abused children said they made him feel “calm”.
Police attended Stuart Smith’s home on June 26, 2020, after being informed that indecent footage had been viewed through an internet server registered at that address.
Officers seized three computer devices on which they found such images, viewed over the previous ten days.
Durham Crown Court has been advised that the search terms used indicate a deliberate search for images of this nature.
Prosecutor Shada Mellor said 111 offending images, including 46 in the most serious category, were found, along with 24 other banned images and five extreme pornographic images.
During an interview in February, Smith admitted to being aware of all the offending material except that categorized as extreme pornography.
Miss Mellor said Smith admitted seeing them for about four years and told police it made him feel “calm,” but denied being aroused and claimed he was not. sexually attracted to children.
The 31-year-old Dawson Street defendant Crook has admitted three counts of fabricating indecent images of children, as well as possession of prohibited images and extreme pornography.
Chris Baker, in mitigation, said Smith had no previous convictions and helped police when they came to his home, pointing out all of his computer devices, making a confession in an interview and by pleading guilty in the district court.
Mr Baker said the accused had always held a job as an adult, but since the conviction would lead to his losing his job, he put his notice.
He admitted that there was “some minimization” of the offense committed by the defendant, which was not unusual in such cases.
But, he said Smith was open enough to make the probation service believe he could work with him to remedy his behavior.
Mr Baker added that the accused had been under a lot of stress and had both health problems and low self-esteem.
Recorder Carl Gumsley said: “Possession of indecent images of children perpetuates the misery of those who are speechless by those seeking sexual gratification.”
He said the child abuse in the material Smith watched was “horrific”, leaving them “visibly distressed.”
But he said to Smith, “I don’t think you met them while surfing the net and didn’t get satisfaction from them.”
Recorder Gumsley added that the public would be “better served”, however, by the defendant receiving help in the community to remedy his behavior.
He handed down a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, during which Smith must endure 90 days of sex offender group work and 30 days of probation-led rehab activity.
Smith is also required to register as a sex offender and comply with a Sexual Injury Prevention Order, both for ten years.
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