A MAN who had been downloading child abuse images took his computer to a law firm and told a solicitor to contact police.

Guilt-racked Roderick Gomer effectively handed himself in after first confessing to staff at an adult mental health home.

The 61-year-old was jailed after a judge at Teesside Crown Court said a suspended sentence "would be setting you up to fail".

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His barrister told the court that he could have destroyed the lap-top and there would have been no evidence against him.

The court heard how a police examination of the computer revealed 230 images of abuse with children as young as six months.

Prosecutor Jenny Haigh told Judge Deboarah Sherwin that there was also one download showing sex involving an animal.

Gomer has nine offences on a criminal record which did not begin until last year, the court was told yesterday.

They include breaches of a criminal behaviour order which prevent him threatening to self-harm by walking into traffic.

Miss Haigh said Gomer refused to speak to police after his disclosures to staff at Foxrush House in Redcar in October 2015.

Duncan McReddie, mitigating, said Gomer went to a solicitor with his laptop, saying he should not have looked at the images.

"That's a very unusual course of action for any defendant to take," said Mr McReddie. "It could well be that these crimes went undetected for some considerable time.

“He could have destroyed the device, after which there would have been no direct evidence that Mr Gomer was responsible for downloading those images.

“He clearly has mental health difficulties. Society has frequently thought that a prison is no place for the probably mentally-ill.

“If he is to be rehabilitated any help that he needs is going to be best delivered while he is at large in the community.

"He was not known to the criminal justice system until he started to try to throw himself under motor vehicles."

Judge Sherwin told Gomer: “It is clear that you are someone who has mental health difficulties and problems with alcohol.

“Suspending a sentence would be setting you up to fail and so I think that the most appropriate sentence would be one of immediate custody.”

Gomer, of no fixed address, was jailed for nine months after he admitted three offences of making indecent images of children, possessing extreme pornography and possessing a prohibited image of a child.