A MAN who attracted police attention after approaching parents in the park to offer them child minding services is awaiting sentence after being found in possession of indecent images.

David James Scott Thompson, from Consett, has admitted to two charges of possessing and making indecent images.

Victoria Lamballe, prosecuting, told Durham Crown Court that Thompson had come to the attention of police at the start of the summer after they received a number of concerned calls from people he had approached in the park asking for the opportunity to gain experience in childminding.

Loading article content

The 33-year-old was told he studying for a childminding qualification at Derwentside College at the time, though he has since been told to leave the course.

However, today the college contacted The Northern Echo to say Thompson had attended the college for a Job Centre Plus referral but had never studied childminding.

When police attended his home in Ritson’s Road to discuss the behaviour, Thompson gave them his phone, which had a number of pictures of children, including ones of a one-year-old child and a number of images which had been taken of school children passing the defendant’s window.

After Thompson was arrested on July 14, police found a micro SD card, which contained images of children aged between three and five, which had been downloaded from the internet.

Tony Davis, who was representing Thompson, said: “He accepts that his behaviour constitutes, for want of a better expression, a unhealthy and deviant sexual interest in very young children. He had made that clear.”

He added there was a need to “robustly address” his behaviour and suggested a suspended sentence would provide more opportunities to do that than would be on offer in custody.

He said: “If it’s not addressed, the reality is that no such work would be done during the course of the custodial element or during the supervision period upon release.

“The real fear is an escalation of offending.”

The case was adjourned until next week because Judge Christopher Prince said he did not have the jurisdiction to sentence, because some of the photographs had been taken in Scotland.

He said: “If this does seem pedantic or like typical lawyers talking up lawyer’s points, if I now sentence this defendant it can go to the court of appeal.

“The sentence might be quashed and justice might be frustrated.”

The case was adjourned for seven days to allow the crown prosecution service to notify officials in Scotland.