October 2017

Darlington sex offender who threatened girls into sending indecent photos

A SEX offender preoccupied with young girls committed a “flagrant” breach of a court order by searching the internet for indecent pictures of children.

Daniel Hume searched the web for ‘young teens’ and saved the 28 pictures he found to his mobile phone.

The 19-year-old, of Mildred Street, Darlington, then deleted six months worth of internet history, telling police a virus had wiped the images out, before later confessing his guilt.

Hume was previously convicted two years ago of exposing himself in the street, causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and also setting up a fake Facebook profile, which he used to threaten young girls into sending him indecent pictures of themselves.

As a result he was given a three year sexual harm prevention order prohibiting him from associating with under 16s and deleting the internet history of any device he owned.

Prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, Christine Egerton said a police officer called on Hume on January 21 this year and “quickly realised he had something to hide”.

The court heard how although Hume had deleted his internet history, the pictures he had downloaded were still available to view in the photos section of his iPhone.

The defendant admitted making indecent images of a child and breaching the sexual harm prevention order.

Andrew Finlay, mitigating, said there was a degree of unsophistication about Hume’s offending.

Mr Finlay read from a report which said Hume lacked maturity and self-confidence and had a number of symptoms which gave rise to a potential personality disorder.

Hume was said to be in line for treatment, but never received this because the funding was withdrawn.

Judge James Brown said Hume still did not realise the seriousness of what he had done.

He said: “This was a flagrant breach [of the order], although there was no direct targeting of victims.

“You continue to have a preoccupation with young girls and while these issues are not addressed you present a risk of sexual harm to girls of that age.”

The judge suspended a ten month jail sentence on Hume for 18 months and said it was essential he take part in a programme suggested by the probation service to address his behaviour.

Hume, whose sentence included a 20 day rehabilitation requirement, had a fresh sexual harm prevention order imposed on him for five years and will also register as a sex offender for the next ten years.