South Shields pervert had 5,000 child abuse pictures - but is spared jail

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A pervert caught with a sickening stash of more than 5,000 images of children being abused has been spared jail.

Kristian Lewis’s shocking collection included a movie which showed a bound and terrified 10-year-old girl being subjected to a sexual ordeal.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the victims in some of the images showed obvious “pain and distress” at what was happening to them.

The horrific haul was seized when police raided Lewis’s South Shields home after a tip-off in October last year.

Lewis confessed he had an interest in adult pornography and “curiosity” led him to access images of children.

The 33-year-old admitted he had been viewing the illegal material since the summer.

The court heard the 5,094 images and movies had been downloaded from a peer to peer sharing site for paedophiles or from inputting words such as “teen pornography” into search engines.

Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw told the court the majority of the images seized had originated from a paedophile website based in Eastern Europe, which was shut down in 2008.

Mr Wardlaw said: “None of the images or movies recovered from the defendant are new.

“The majority of then have been in existence for seven to eight years, from what is a now-closed-down paedophile website, a company that specialises in these movies in the Ukraine.”

Lewis, of Victoria Road, South Shields, pleaded guilty to making and possessing indecent images of children.

Judge Edward Bindloss said the “medium” risk Lewis poses of re-offending could be better managed and reduced by him participating in a sex offender programme rather than sending him to jail.

The judge sentenced him to 16 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with programme requirements and a life-long sexual harm prevention order to control his internet use.

Judge Bindloss told Lewis: “You admitted this was for your own sexual gratification.

“You have been open and candid about the sexual interest you were having in children.

“You would like to change that behaviour, change that attitude and address it.”

Graeme Cook, defending, said Lewis lost his last job in 2003 through redundancy, but is about to start on a back to work programme.

Mr Cook said: “This wake-up call has created in him a realisation he cannot laze about, he needs to get back to work. It seems this has been missing from his life.”