South Shields dad found with sickening pictures and videos of children tried to take his own life
A ‘family man’ who was found with a sickening collection of child abuse images were found on his laptop has walked free from court.
Steven Malcolm made a ‘genuine attempt’ and suffered ‘real injuries’ when he tried to take his own life due to the ‘shame’ of what police found on his computer when it was seized in 2017.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 58-year-old initially told officers he knew nothing about the 304 pictures and videos, which had been taken from the internet and uploaded to a Dropbox, which allowed other users access to them.
And by the time the working dad was due to enter a formal plea to the charges he faced he faced at court, he was already hospitalised due to an attempt to take his own life.
At a later court hearing Malcolm, of Vernon Close, South Shields, admitted making 103 Category A, which is the most serious of their type, images and movies of children.
He pleaded guilty to making 97 category B and 104 category C.
The court heard Malcolm accessed the images between November 2013 and June 2017, when police raided his home after his computer IP address was linked to indecent images.
Prosecutor Jolyon Perks told the court: "The images are acquired by the defendant from the internet then uploaded to a Dropbox on the internet."
Mr Perks added: "We cannot say, from the information we have, there was sending of the images to other individuals but by uploading them via Dropbox he makes them available."
Gavin Doig, defending, said Malcolm is ‘extremely remorseful’ for what he did, at a time when he was going through ‘personal turmoil’.
Mr Doig said any risk Malcolm, who has already sought professional help, poses can be managed in the community and he has been candid with his family.
Mr Doig added: "He suffered real injuries as a result of his suicide attempt because of the shame he feels."
Judge Jeremy Freedman sentenced Malcolm to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, with programme requirements plus sex offender registration and sexual harm prevention order for ten years.
The judge said Malcolm has clearly been a "family man" and told him: "It is truly shocking to see a man, 58, of good character, excellent employment record and supportive family standing in the dock of a crown court.
"The reason is your own unnatural interest in children."
Judge Freedman said viewing such images means you "condone and encourage" abuse of young children and contribute directly to it.
The judge said the sentence could be suspended as Malcolm has sought help to rehabilitate, which he is willing to continue and has committed no further offences since his arrest more than two years ago.
Judge Freeman said he ‘placed some weight upon’ Malcolm's suicide attempt and added: "It was a genuine attempt at suicide, you were clearly disgusted with yourself and the shame you brought upon yourself and your family.
"You suffered very severe physical injuries."