Pervert who shared child abuse images on social media chats caught after US authorities alerted police

A pervert who shared sickening child abuse images during social media chats was collared when America authorities alerted police in the UK.

Officers seized four mobile telephones and a laptop from Jeffrey Downs' home in Jarrow, after the cross Atlantic tip-off and found 382 illegal images featuring children, including the "very young".

Newcastle Crown Court heard Downs' web history revealed the sickening pictures and movies had been searched for and viewed on the devices.

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Prosecutor Michael Bunch told the court 64 images were category A, which is the most serious, 70 were category B and 248 were category C.

Newcastle Crown Court.

The court heard most of them were still pictures but there were also a small number of videos.

Mr Bunch added: "The reason for the obtaining of the warrant was information had been received from America, after a number of reports of images beinguploaded by accounts identified as related to this defendant."

Mr Bunch said 28 category A, 11 category B and 47 category C images had been uploaded by Downs in the course of various social media conversations.

He added: "The conversations with others were provided by the American law enforcement agencies, indicating effectively, this defendant had engaged in chats with others, during the course of which he had forwarded onto them images which he had."

Downs, 60, of Regent Road, Jarrow, admitted three charges of making and three charges of distributing indecent images of children.

Jennifer Coxon, defending, said Downs has significant health problems and has been a "hard working family man" with now grown up children.

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Miss Coxon added: "He is disgusted with his behaviour. He is disgusted with anyone who commits offences like this.

"He admits he's done it, he admit's it's wrong."

Judge Stephen Earl said viewing and distributing such images for sexual gratification is an "abomination in a decent society".

The judge sentenced Downs to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, with rehabilitation requirements.

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Downs has to sign the sex offenders register and abide by a sexual harm prevention order for ten years.

Judge Earl said Downs' medical position and his prospect of rehabilitation meant the jail term could be suspended.