A pervert who downloaded child abuse images of children as young as five has walked free from court.

David Painter had more than 100 illicit images and videos on his iPhone and iPad when police raided his home almost two years ago.

The 42-year-old had images of children aged between five and eight being sexually abused stored on his digital devices, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Nigel Soppitt, prosecuting, said one of the images downloaded by the Darlington man came under the Coroners and Justice Act and branded it offensive and disgusting.

Painter, of St Andrew’s Street, Darlington, pleaded guilty to downloading 20 Category A images; 15 Category B images; 80 Category C images; and one prohibited image of a child between February and June 2022.

Annelise Haugstad, mitigating, said urged the judge to follow the recommendations in her client’s pre-sentence report but urged him not to impose a curfew as it would impact on his ability to work ‘due to the nature of his business’.

Judge Jonathan Carroll told Painter that the only explanation for downloading the child abuse images were to satisfy his own sexual desires.

He said: “You may have started using the internet to access adult pornography but when you discovered child abuse images you continued watching.

“The terms and searches on your devices show you were searching to find it.

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“What you have got to understand is that although you maybe in a room on your own, there is someone somewhere suffering abuse at the hands of others for these photographs to be taken.

“This causing real harm to real children, therefore, you are directly adding to that harm.”

Painter was sentenced to seven months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work and attend 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

He was also ordered to sign on the sex offenders’ register for ten years and made subject of a sexual harm prevention order fort the same period.