A MAN who admitted having become “addicted” to viewing pornography moved on to searching for indecent images of children, a court was told.

Kane Ennis used the so-called “dark web” to access the images but told police he did not differentiate between adult pornography and the illicit material featuring the sexual abuse of children.

Durham Crown Court heard that police visited his home on August 4, 2020, on suspicion that he had accessed indecent images of children from the internet.

Jonathan Gittins, prosecuting, said the officers removed a computer device, which Ennis initially claimed did not belong to him, but then said he only did it, “out of curiosity”, and that he had not looked at the images for some time.

Examination of the computer revealed the presence of a number of offending images, some of which were accessible, but others which could not be accessed.

In all police found 54 indecent child images, 11 in the most serious category, eight of which were videos.

There were also five images containing what is classed as “extreme pornography", featuring scenes of bestiality, and 76 prohibited images of children, in the form of drawings or computer-generated images.

Mr Gittins said the earliest date they were downloaded was in October 2018 and there was an indication of several internet searches for such material, based on the terms used.

When interviewed Ennis claimed he had only twice downloaded the offending images, but accepted he knew it was illegal to do so and said he would delete them from the device within a short time.

Mr Gittins said Ennis admitted having used the “dark web”, having become addicted to pornography, and added, “he didn’t differentiate” between material featuring adults and children.

The defendant, of Wylam Street, Craghead, near Stanley, admitted three counts relating to the downloading of indent child images, one over the prohibited images and a further charge covering the extreme pornographic material.

He appeared at the crown court for sentence today (Friday April 8), on his 30th birthday.

Read more: Teenager concealed indecent child images, hiding some in music app

Recorder Ben Nolan told the defendant’s counsel, Bryan Mark, that he had read a background report by the Probation Service on Ennis and he was impressed by the fact that he had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity in court and that he had no previous convictions.

He told Mr Mark that the case “crossed the custody threshold”, due to the young ages of some of the children featured being seriously sexually abused.

But, given his early pleas and previous good character, he said he could suspend the ten-month prison sentence for two years, during which Ennis must complete 40 days’ rehabilitation work with the Probation Service.

The defendant will also be subject to future restrictions using the internet as part of Sexual Harm Prevention Order, while he must register as a sex offender, both for ten years.

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