A CWMBRAN man was jailed for a minimum of four years yesterday for making and distributing more than 6,000 indecent images of children.
Mark Sheehan, 48, of Llantarnam, Cwmbran, appeared at Cardiff crown court charged with 15 counts of making indecent photographs of children, five counts of distributing indecent photographs of children and one count of possessing indecent photographs of children, which he pleaded guilty to on November 27, 2008.
The offences relate to a period between January 2006 and August 2008.
Hywel Hughes, prosecuting, told the court police began investigating Sheehan after a 15-year-old girl reported that he posed as a 13-year-old girl and sent her an indecent image via internet chat room MSN in February 2008.
Officers visited his home on June 24, 2008 and he was arrested and his computer was seized, Hughes said.
Police found a total of 6289 indecent images and 56 indecent videos on his computer.
They also found evidence to show some of the images had been sent to people over the internet.
At least three of the images were deemed to be level five, which is considered the highest level of indecency by police.
All others were graded from levels one to four.
Mr Hughes told the court Sheehan served five months in prison in October 2003 for similar offences and was on licence prohibiting him from committing more offences for three years, which expired in March 2007.
David Webster, defending, said Sheehan’s offending was an escape into a fantasy world where he could be distracted from the pressures of business and family life.
He said Sheehan was aware of his weakness and was remorseful for the stress he had caused his family.
He said Sheehan wanted to do everything in his power to address his weaknesses to ensure he does not re-offend.
Sheehan was sentenced to a minimum of four years in prison but could serve an indeterminate sentence for public protection.
Judge David Wynn Morgan said: “In the view of the court there is a significant risk to the public of serious harm caused by you committing further offences.”
Sheehan was also made the subject of a sexual offences order, which prevents him from communicating with anyone under the age of 18 without the permission of a parent or guardian.
The order also prevents him from taking photographs of anyone under the age of 18 and bans him from owning or using a computer or the internet.