August 2021

Pervert found with hundreds of vile child abuse images claimed he was just trying catch paedophiles

A man found with over 800 vile images of children claimed that he was using them to catch other paedophiles.

Jonathan Hargreaves, 36, came to the attention of the police when they received numerous reports of an account linked to his address posting the photos and videos online.

The indecent images were said to involve children less than a year old being abused, with the majority of the images involving children aged between two and six-years-old.

However, after attending at the house in Trafford which he shared with his mum and step-dad, he claimed he had ‘no idea’ why the police were there, Minshull Street Crown Court heard.

Days later he voluntarily went back to the station and admitted he had uploaded the images in order to ‘find the people who shared them’ so he could report them to the police but he was ‘too scared to do that’.

Following an examination of his phone, officers found a large amount of indecent images of children, including 374 category A images some of which involved babies.

Hargreaves, of Urmston, pleaded guilty to an offence of making indecent images and has now been jailed for 18 months.

And a judge told him it was ‘evidently clear’ he downloaded the images for his own gratification.

Prosecutor Michael Lavery said that on January 3 2020, officers received intelligence that suggested a user on a chat website was uploading category A images – said to be the worst type.

The IP address was matched to a Virgin Media account at Hargreaves mum’s house.

“Further intelligence was received on January 6, the same user had uploaded category B and C images from the same IP address,” Mr Lavery told the court.

Further intelligence was received on April 16 after more images were uploaded by the same username on the same website and from the same IP address.

“A warrant was applied for and granted, and present at the address was the defendant and the homeowner. His mother was at work.

“A number of electrical devices were seized and the Det Cons carried out a safeguarding interview with both the defendant and the homeowner but they both said they had no idea.”

Whilst the devices were sent to a high tech crime unit for analysis a few days later, Hargreaves called the officer and told them he wanted to come in and speak to them.

“He admitted he had downloaded the images and distributed them to others to find out the people sharing them so he could report them to the police but was too scared to even do that,” the prosecutor said.

Following the search of his phone, officers found 374 category A images, 217 of which were films; 373 category B images, 78 of which were films; and 117 category C images, 57 of which were moving images.

In total 864 images were recovered.

Sentencing, Judge Tina Landale told him: “Although you deny it, it’s evidently clear you downloaded the images for your own gratification because of the number of images involved and the repetition involved and the searching involved.

“The films and images involved very serious offences being committed against defenceless children and rather than being heartbroken to see this material, you derived sexual satisfaction from it.

“By consuming this material, you cause others to produce it.

“There’s no evidence you caused any harm but your interest clearly causes others to continue the abuse.”

Hargreaves, of Oak Grove, was jailed for 18 months and made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.

He must also sign onto the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.