South Tyneside pervert jailed over sick collection of indecent images of children as young as four

A businessman who admitted being addicted to looking at images of children being abused has been put behind bars.

By Alex Storey
Wednesday, 6th January 2021, 5:48 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th January 2021, 6:17 pm

Matthew Smith was caught by police over three years ago after he was stung by an undercover officer whom he had shared indecent images with.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that the 51-year-old had shared the pictures of children between the ages of four and ten years old.

Prosecutor Claire Anderson said that Smith admitted he used the images for his own sexual gratification.

The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court

She told the court: "In June 2017 the defendant participated in a chatroom.

"At the time an undercover officer called 'Alex' was participating in the chat."

Ms Anderson told the court that Smith posted a number of indecent images, some of which showed young girls in sexual poses.

The court also heard how the conversation between Smith and 'Alex' saw the defendant say that girls between "three and six were his favourite."

The officer also said that his girlfriend had two girls aged eight and 13, to which he received a reply from Smith saying "Mmm, very rape-able."

Smith, of Market Walk, Jarrow, was later arrested by police and four category A images of children were found between ages four and ten after his computer was forensically examined.

Ms Anderson told the court that there were also four category B images found along with one category C image of a girl naked in the bath.

She said: "The defendant was interviewed on October 28 and made full admissions saying he was responsible and that he was guilty and ashamed."

Lee Fish, defending, told the court that the defendant - who was of previous good character and runs a business - admitted to getting lost down a "wormhole of pornography".

"The defendant admitted this offence three years ago and he confessed to the police over two years ago, I'm not trying to to make a cheap point about the delay - we are where we are.

"But he's been waiting an incredibly long time with the prospect of custody and losing everything he has ever worked for."

Mr Fish believed the defendant was in a position to seek the relevant rehabilitation, after taking a voluntary counselling programme suggested by the police which lasted over six months to help tackle his issues.

He added: "The defendant can't do much more than he has done to try and confront what he did, why he did it and to try ensure it never happens again."

Smith, who admitted three counts of distributing indecent images of children, was jailed for two years by Mr Recorder Jonathan Sandiford QC.

The judge told him: "There must be proper punishment for this offending, for this reason I do not feel able to suspend the sentence."

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