October 2020

Middlesbrough pervert who had collection of ‘appalling’ abuse avoids prison

A pervert who downloaded more than a hundred child abuse images was caught following a tip-off from the National Crime Agency.

Thomas Matthews stored the ‘appalling’ videos and pictures on a digital cloud account to keep them from being directly stored on his own computer and mobile phone.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 24-year-old had access to 25 Category A images and videos, the worst category; nine Category B; and 73 Category C.

Martin Towers, prosecuting, said Matthews was arrested at his workplace following the tip-off on September 13 last year.

He said: “The mobile phone had access to a mega-cloud account, this account contained the indecent images.

“There were some issues in extracting those images.

“The number of images are 25 Category A videos and images; nine Category B and 73 Category C.

“The aggravating feature in this case was the age and vulnerability of the children and the fact they were moving images.

“The defendant admitted the offences when he was interviewed but denied that he got sexual gratification from them.”

Mr Towers told the court that the defendant was of previous good character and had never appeared in court before these offences.

Matthews, of Dorman Gardens, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to three charges of creating indecent images of children.

Michele Turner, in mitigation, said it is to her client’s credit that he asked for immediate help to address his behaviour.

The defendant sought help from a specially designed programme to address interest in child sexual abuse videos and pictures.

She said: “It caused him to understand his conduct and the full picture – he didn’t fully appreciate that.”

Miss Turner urged the judge to follow the recommendation of the Probation Service pre-sentence report.

Judge Howard Crowson said: “You are only 24 and never been before a Crown Court before, or any other court for that matter, but you are facing charges of making indecent images of children.

“You kind of creating are the images are created by viewing them, you didn’t save them for future viewing but every image is a child that has been terribly violated and every time someone views an image they are violated again.

“The descriptions of some of the films you watched are appalling.”

The judge passed a two-year community order with 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

Matthews was also ordered to take part in the Horizon project, a government programme designed for medium risk sex offenders delivered in custodial and community sites.

He was also ordered to sign on the sex offender register for five years and was made subject of a sexual harm prevention order for the same period of time.