A 44-year-old man who went on the run before being sentenced for possession of indecent images of children has been jailed.
Police found more than 38,000 child sex abuse images and movies on a computer after a search warrant was executed at the Ilkley Road, South Oxhey, home of Shaun Packer on August 7.
Packer pleaded guilty at the magistrates’ court to 20 charges of possession of indecent images of children and extreme pornographic images involving animals.
He was due to be sentenced at St Albans Crown court in March, but absconded and was found living in a tent in a wooded area of Stevenage.
Judge Stephen Gullick jailed Packer for a total of 13 months today with 57 days remanded in custody to count towards the sentence.
Packer denied having a sexual interest in children and claimed to have started looking at the images to make sense of the abuse he suffered as a child.
As the defendant would not admit to any sexual motivation he was not suitable for treatment in the community, which is often imposed in such cases instead of an immediate custodial sentence.
In two interviews Packer gave without a solicitor he admitted collecting the images over three years after being drawn in by an internet forum.
He said he was attracted by the innocence of the children as it reminded him of his past experiences.
Packer had a conviction for shop lifting in 1986 and another for criminal damage in 1991.
Russell Robinson, for the defence, quoted from a psychiatric report, which concluded Packer’s interest in viewing the sexual abuse of young girls could have stemmed from his solitary existence and being abused as a child, rather than for “sexual gratification”.
Mr Robinson explained Packer had not appeared for sentence due to a “failure of nerve at the last minute.”
Judge Gullick jailed Packer for 12 months for possession of the indecent images and one month for failing to appear in court.
The judge conceded the vast majority of images were level one, but there were also hundreds of level four and five, the most serious, involving girls under the age of 13 with some as young as four.
Judge Gullick said: “You pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, but there was a substantial amount of indecent material, a not insignificant amount of level four and five.
“When you should have attended for sentence you decided not to and made off with a tent.
“In my judgement this amount of material particularly level four and five warrants a custodial sentence.”
Packer was ordered to sign the sex offenders register for ten years after release.
He was made the subject of a sexual offences prevention order, with a number of conditions affecting internet use and contact with children that he must comply with until his 60th birthday.