A PENSIONER who persistently breached court orders by accessing indecent images of children, has been jailed for 40 months.

Paul Stubbs is said to have, “a long-term, entrenched, sexually deviant interest in pre-pubescent children”, and is considered a high risk of re-offending in future.

Durham Crown Court heard the 71-year-old defendant, of Pleasant View, Bridgehill, Consett, has sex offences on his record going back more than 40 years.

They include indecent assault of a young girl in 1999, plus more recent convictions for accessing online indecent images of children, for which he was made subject of restricted internet use as part of a lifetime Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO), for which he received a suspended prison sentence, in 2015.

He breached the order in 2018, but when police visited his home in Consett and seized computer equipment in December, last year, examination revealed indecent images, plus link files indicative of paedophilic images.

Ashleigh Leach, prosecuting, said Stubbs also installed software to delete internet history and a browser to enable “peer to peer downloads”.

Police examiners found a word document outlining the sexual abuse of a child by an adult called ‘Paul’.

In interview he made denials, but he was re-visited in September when officers seized a further lap-top, containing three indecent images of children and 141 prohibited computer-generated images, all inaccessible, with a ‘cleaner’ installed since the previous police visit.

But other accessible images of child abuse were recovered, created since the start of the investigation.

Miss Leach said aggravating features of the case were the ages of children featured, between four and eight, the attempts to dispose of, and conceal evidence, and the repeated failure to comply with court orders.

Stubbs admitted four counts of possessing indecent or prohibited images of children and breaching the SHPO.

A probation report highlighted he poses, “a significant risk to the public of causing serious harm,” and work needs to be done with him while in prison to address his behaviour.

Lorraine Mustard, for the defendant, said Stubbs was, “open and honest”, with the author of the report, “recognising he has a problem.”

She said his “inability to deal with pressures”, including health issues, lead him to return to his previous offending.

Jailing him, Judge Ray Singh told Stubbs: “You have conceded you have a long-term and entrenched sexually deviant interest in pre-pubescent female children.

“This needs to be stopped and controlled.”

Stubbs will remain subject to the lifetime SHPO and notification requirements.

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