A CONVICTED sex offender has brought shame to his family after he downloaded indecent images of children as young as five.

Michael Wood, of Oatlands Way, Durham, was sentence to six months in prison after police discovered the disturbing images during a home visit to the address he shares with his parents.

Durham Crown Court heard that the 32-year-old committed the offences within weeks of finishing a suspended sentence for similar crimes.

In 2018, Wood appeared in court after he deceived youngsters on WhatsApp and pretended to be a 14-year-old child in the hopes of engaging in a sexual conversation.

He then participated in a Skype conversation with a boy he believed was 15 and encouraged him to engage in sexual activity on webcam.

Although compliant with the suspended sentence and Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO), within weeks of the two year sentence finishing he reoffended.

Yesterday, Wood pleaded guilty to possession of an extreme category A image of a five-year-old girl and a category C image of a 15-year-boy on his iPad.

The images were accessible on the device but held on the recently deleted folder which can be restored.

Durham Crown Court heard that the defendant’s actions had destroyed his career and left his family mortified, but said they are working together to address the problem.

Mitigation also claimed at the time of the offence he suffered significant mental health issues including anxiety, depression, and low mood, which combined with social isolation and communication problems contributed to his actions.

In court he acknowledged his wrongdoing and was given credit for complying with his previous suspended sentence.

Judge Ray Singh said: “These are not victimless crimes. It is because of the desire of people like you who want to view these images that a young child of five years of age has gone through torment. You did not reflect upon what that child was going through when you downloading the image.

"I appreciate the images were limited and deleted however they were still accessible on your device. I am afraid the suspended sentence did not work and there is no other alternative than a prison sentence.”