A COMPUTER expert caught with pictures and videos of child abuse and torture walked free from court.

Judge Simon Hickey told Clifford Cook he would not get the treatment he needs if he was given a short jail sentence.

Cook, 56, had searched the internet using terms such as “girl drugged and raped”, Teesside Crown Court was told.

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His lawyer said his partner of 17 years was shocked to learn of his illegal activities, but was supporting him.

But Judge Hickey described him as “completely isolated” after the death of his parents, still living in the family home.

Cook’s temporary address is not on court records after his home was targeted by vandals.

Mr Wood said the IT specialist was forced to flee from Bondfield Road, Middlesbrough, after windows were smashed.

The court heard Cook also lost his job after there was publicity when he pleaded guilty to the charges.

He admitted two charges of possessing indecent images of children, and two of possessing extreme pornography.

After his arrest, Cook said he downloaded adult pornography, but the images of children also landed on his computer.

Judge Hickey said: “If I gave you an immediate custodial sentence, under the guidelines it will be a short sentence, and no work will be done with you in prison.

“In your case it is right to suspend the sentence. I do so because of your good character and your complete isolation, and because the orders I pass will protect the public and I can impose an accredited programme.”

Cook was given an eight-month sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to go on a sex offender treatment programme and carry out 25 of a rehabilitation activity requirement.

He will also have to sign on the sex offenders’ register, will be banned from working with children, and will have restrictions placed on his computer and internet use.