A BUSINESSMAN who got addicted to pornography to combat the stress of work has appeared in court for possession of extreme images.
Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard how John Robert Blanchard began looking at “stronger and stronger” images until he was viewing pictures of children and animals out of “curiosity”.
The 41-year-old pleaded guilty to possession of 186 images of children, ranging from level one to level four, with none at level five – the highest level.
He also admitted 16 charges of making indecent photos of children, one of possession of 15 prohibited images of cartoon children in sexual situations and one of possession of 67 extreme pornographic images.
Examples were given of adults and animals engaged in sexual activity.
Prosecutor Lilian Atkinson said the matter came to light through police intelligence.
Officers attended his home address, which he shared with his parents, and found one computer.
Mrs Atkinson said: “He was interviewed regarding this matter and said he was the only person to use the computer, firstly for his business and then after that mainly to look at pornography and Facebook.
“There were times he couldn’t believe what he was seeing, sometimes pictures of children would pop up and he would sometimes look at them out of curiosity.
“Most of the images were not stored, they were looked at then disposed of.”
She said Blanchard, of Sycamore Crescent, Teesville, had no previous convictions or cautions.
His solicitor Peter Busby said his client began looking at the images as a “form of stress relief”.
“It was a release that has turned into an addiction,” said Mr Busby. “As he has viewed pornography more regularly he has found himself looking at stronger and stronger stuff.
“We would also say the majority of the images were thumbnail pop-ups rather than those he has searched for and downloaded intentionally.”
After retiring to consider a sentence, the magistrates decided that their powers were insufficient.
Chairman of the magistrates’ bench, Kathy Kirkbright said: “We have decided that our powers are not sufficient to deal with this case. We are therefore committing it to the crown court.”
Blanchard was given unconditional bail and told the date for his crown court sentencing would be fixed administratively.