A sex offender breached the terms of a court order with his “clandestine” collection of electronic devices on which he searched for indecent images of children.

David Alan Carr was back before Durham Crown Court for sentence today (Wednesday February 8) for four breaches of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) imposed in the same building, in October 2018.

On that occasion, a judge imposed a suspended sentence order on Carr over his large collection of indecent and prohibited images of children, found on devices retrieved by police from his home in Murton, in 2016.

The sentencing judge in 2018 said he hoped that by suspending the sentence the Probation Service could work with Carr to help him overcome his, “entrenched behaviour”.

Read more: Murton man's 'entrenched' behaviour saw him amass three-year haul of indecent child images

But the court heard today that on a monitoring visit to his home, in Woods Terrace, on October 19 last year, police discovered various devices capable of allowing internet access which he had failed to inform them he owned.

Andrew Finlay, prosecuting, said, officers seized 17 hard drives and lap-top computers and it was discovered Carr had used a covert internet browser and online cloud storage.

Examination of three of the hard drives uncovered the presence of 60 indecent images of children, 29 in the most serious category, 553 prohibited images of children and 78 classed as, “extreme pornography”, portraying scenes of bestiality.

Mr Finlay said 443 of the illicit images were accessible and all were said to have been originally downloaded between 2007 and 2010, pre-dating the images over which he was convicted in 2018.

When police returned to his home on November 10 and arrested him, he was asked if he had a mobile phone, and he handed over a device which was found to have an internet “history” dating from October 2021.

It emerged he had asked a relative for help with a SIM card and the phone had been in use since August 2022, despite Carr’s previous claims to police that he did not have a phone.

He made no reply to police questions when interviewed, but, appearing later before magistrates, the 44-year-old defendant admitted four breaches of the 2018 SHPO and possession of indecent and prohibited images of children, plus possessing extreme pornographic images.

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His advocate, Martin Scarborough, told today’s sentencing hearing that it had to be accepted these were “persistent” breaches of the order over a few weeks in October last year and that the offending images pre-dated those found in his earlier single conviction.

Mr Scarborough described Carr as, “a socially-isolated individual” and the recent breaches followed his return to drinking more heavily after discovering a close family member’s illness was more serious than previously believed.

But Mr Scarborough said the defendant made immediate admissions on the first opportunity at court and added that it was still thought he could work with the Probation Service to overcome his predilection, while he could also be given an alcohol abstinence order to curb his drinking.

But Judge Kidd said despite the age of the images discovered last October, Carr was still able to retrieve them, which was an “aggravating feature” of the case.

She said: “It’s equally clear that in 2022, and from 2019, he continued to search for images of children and I must pass sentence over a significant quantity of them.

“He was given the opportunity to engage with the Probation Service when he was given the suspended sentence order in October 2018.

Read next:

               Horden sex offender found with indecent images of children jailed

               Software allowed for distribution of indecent images of children by Stanley man

               County Durham man jailed for sharing indecent images of children

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“He had the chance to deal with his offending and he’s clearly been tempted to re-engage with his criminal behaviour as evidenced by his searches for indecent images and the clandestine nature of the possession of further electronic devices and their use, in October 2022.”

Imposing a total 24-month prison sentence, Judge Kidd also made Carr subject to a new 10-year SHPO, as well as the requirement to register as a sex offender for the same period.

The judge also ordered forfeiture and destruction of all the recently seized devices.