Pervert Darlington built a computer to download child abuse images

A SICK pervert who built his own computer to download nearly 20,000 lewd pictures of children has gone free on trial.

Simon Cole also used computer software to disguise his ill use of the internet, despite being subject to the strict terms of his Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).

The 52-year-old also admitted taking illicit photos of his neighbors and a student walking past his home.

In 2014, he was sentenced to 20 months in prison after spending 10 years building a pathetic library of 850,000 child abuse photos at his Darlington home.

Annelise Haugstad, prosecutor, said the defendant used a purpose-built computer tower to download the indecent images and was caught in possession of a locked USB memory stick.

She said: “The tower had four hard drives and permanently erased the software that was able to clean browsing history and temporary internet files, making these items unrecoverable by forensic software.

“It has been used multiple times and the last time it was used was in February.”

The court heard Cole downloaded the images between December 2021 and February this year.

Miss Haugstad added: “He admitted to taking pictures of his neighbors from his bedroom without their knowledge, mainly of female neighbors he liked and also a photo of a passing schoolgirl in uniform.”

Cole, of Charnwood Drive, Darlington, pleaded guilty to two violations of his SHPO and two counts of possession of indecent pictures of children – 19,165 in category A and an additional 61 in category B.

Duncan McReddie said mitigatingly his client would benefit from the parole service’s intervention to help him address his behavior.

He said: “I admit the custodial sentence, but I would argue that it is in the interest of justice that any sentence imposed be suspended or you issue a lengthy and onerous community injunction.”

Judge James Brown sentenced Cole to two years’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, for “blatant violation” of the court order.

“You pleaded guilty at first opportunity to some very serious crimes that very loudly mirror crimes you participated in eight years ago,” he said.

“Back in February 2014 you were tried for offenses of a very similar nature and you were put in jail and given a sex crimes prevention order.”

The judge added: “For what I consider to be a manifest breach of the order, you clearly took steps to prevent the order from being effective.”

Cole also became the subject of a ten-year notice order to help police track his whereabouts and to attend an accredited sex offender program to address his behavior.

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