May 2021

Sunderland man found with vile abuse of children as young as one will be sentenced by a crown court judge

A man faces jail after being caught with a sickening stash of child abuse images at his Sunderland home.

Among Stephen Collier’s vile collection was a youngster aged around one and others who detectives say are in visible distress.

Collier, 56, of North Hylton Road, Southwick, was caught when officers from Northumbria Police’s specialist Paedophile Online Investigations Team raided his property.

Forensic searches of his digital devices revealed 121 images, including 32 at highest level category A, magistrates in South Tyneside heard.

There were also 49 at category B and 40 at category C, prosecutor John Graham revealed.

He said the starting point for possession of category A images was 12-months behind bars and six months for category B.

Mr Graham said: “Officers from Polit, Northumbria Police’s Paedophile Online Investigations Team, attended his home.

“They were in possession of a warrant issued by North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

“The warrant was executed, and his house was searched, and a number of digital images were recovered.

“The police evidence is that there is very visible distress to some of the children.

“There is also a child that police say is one year of age.

“Looking at category A, the starting point is 12 months but there’s also category B which has a starting point of six months.”

“Nevertheless, the download has taken place and he has to be dealt with.”

Collier pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of a child, between July 1, 2006, and April 8 of this year.

Magistrates told him his crimes were so serious their sentencing powers were insufficient, and he must be dealt with at crown court.

He will be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court on Friday, May 28.

Collier, who was granted unconditional bail, was immediately made subject to the sex offenders’ register.