A MAN who shared indecent images of children on a messaging site told police he thought people creating such material “should be locked up”.

Lee Joseph Ashton, has now, himself, been “locked up”, after admitting downloading and distributing indecent images in all three categories of severity.

Durham Crown Court heard police visited his home on September 15, 2020, and confiscated his mobile phone, while Aston went to the police station voluntarily.

Examination of the phone uncovered 148 indecent images of children, including 75 videos, of which 11 still and 56 moving images were in the most serious category.

They were acquired between October 2018 and September 2020, while between June 7 and August 13 in 2020, he passed some on to others on a messenger site.

Aston admitted looking at them at home and said they featured children as young as four or five being abused by adults.

Uzma Khan, prosecuting, said Aston told police he had been “stupid” and it made him, “sick”, that he had done it, adding that those responsible for creating the images, “should be locked up.”

The court heard that in conversation with a ‘Big Boy Dave’, on a messenger site capable of being encrypted and deleted, Aston confessed to being, “a proper perv”, claiming he could “go to four”, which Judge James Adkin, said he could only imagine to what he was referring.

Forty-year-old Aston, who has no previous convictions, of Rowan Court, Spennymoor, admitted three counts each of making and distributing indecent child images.

Read more: Man said children on abuse images, 'seemed to enjoy it'

John Nixon, in mitigation, said the defendant co-operated with police and, “at no time did he try to avoid the inevitable”, making expressions of remorse and regret when interviewed.

Mr Nixon said his client had suffered depression for a number of years and turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism.

But he became “alcohol-dependent” which affected his decision-making, leading to the commission of these offences.

Mr Nixon told the court, however, that the seeking out of these images was as far as the defendant would have taken it, adding that the author of a probation background report considered he poses, “a very low risk” of reoffending in future.

Judge Adkin said he, “generally takes the view” that those involved in distribution of indecent images of children should go to prison.

He told Aston: “Sending them to other like-minded individuals is encouraging them to view real children being sexually abused.

“It’s clear from the messages you had a sexual interest in children.”

Imposing an 18-month prison sentence, he also made Aston subject of registration as a sex offender as well as the terms of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, both for ten years.

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