July 2021

Chester-le-Street man pretended to be girl, 17, to groom child, 13

A County Durham paedophile hid vile images on his phone behind the password ‘I love little girls’

Andrew Tomson, who gave his address as a hostel at Plawsworth, near Chester-le-Street, also groomed a 13-year-old girl on the Talk With Stranger website before communicating with her via Snapchat.

He told the youngster – who has complex needs – he was a 17-year-old girl named Chloe and encouraged her to send pictures and videos of herself performing sex acts.

Durham Crown Court heard that due to previous offences the 37-year-old was being closely monitored by police.

During a visit to his address on March 10, police asked to look at his phone which he claimed he had lost.

He hid it behind his back but police asked to see it and discovered nine category A , five category B and 36 category C indecent images of children.

Officers then found two other devices he failed to declare.

During police interview, he unlocked one of the devices for police using the passcode ‘I love little girls’.

On the phone a further 85 indecent images and videos of children were found.

Prosecuting Helen Towers told the court Tomson had also made threats to the young girl and her family.

In mitigation, the court heard Tomson pleaded guilty to all offences at his first hearing at magistrates’ court.

Sentencing Recorder Alistair MacDonald QC said: “These are serious offences and it is not the first time that you have been before the court for offences of this sort.

“You have three offences of breach of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, an offence of possession of indecent images of children, a charge of distribution of indecent images of children and most seriously an offence of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

“It is clear the sentences imposed upon you previously gave little of no difference to your behaviour.”

Tomson was handed a six-year prison sentence with a four-year extension period

He must also pay a victim surcharge.