A man shared an image of a young child being sexually abused to a woman with whom he was "flirting", via Snapchat, a court heard.

Adam Hindmarch was also found to have covertly filmed another woman showering and taking part in private sexual acts, without her knowledge.

Police, acting on intelligence, visited Hindmarch’s home address at the time, in County Durham, on December 6, 2022, and seized his mobile phone.

Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, told Durham Crown Court that examination of the phone revealed both indecent and prohibited images and videos of children, extreme pornographic videos and images, featuring scenes of bestiality, plus voyeuristic footage of a woman in a bathroom and showering.

The Northern Echo: Durham Crown Court heard that Adam Hindmarch downloaded indecent images of children considered, "as

The court heard the offending images appeared to have been downloaded over a period between October and December 2022.

Mr Dodds said it also emerged Hindmarch had placed hidden cameras which captured footage of a woman showering and carrying out private sexual acts, who was oblivious she was being filmed.

The indecent child images, in all categories of severity, featured victims as young as three being sexually abused by adults, with some suffering discernible distress, while the prohibited images were caricatures of children taking part in sexual activity.

Mr Dodds there was also Snapchat footage in which the defendant showed a category A (the most serious level) video of a child being abused to a woman who was carrying out a sex act on herself as she viewed the footage.

The Northern Echo:

Although the defendant accepted having placed covert cameras to record another woman in a shower he denied looking for indecent images of children online and claimed he was only seeking adult pornography.

He did accept communicating and “flirting” with a female online, but he said it was usually when he was under the influence of a bottle-and-a-half of wine, which he consumed on a nightly basis at the time.

The 30-year-old defendant, recently of Kedleston Close, Ryhope, Sunderland, admitted distributing an indecent photo of a child, three counts of making indecent images of a child, plus other offences of possessing prohibited images of a child and extreme pornographic images, and one of voyeurism.

Discussing the terms of a potential Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO), Martin Scarborough, representing Hindmarch, told Judge Nathan Adams that, “while not in any way seeking to downplay the defendant’s offending”, there was no suggestion of him trying to commit any contact offences involving children.

He said the defendant was, “of hitherto good character”, with the images offences having taken place over a six-week period towards the end of 2022, but the voyeurism over a longer period.

Mr Scarborough told the court: “He says he didn’t remember downloading them (the indecent images) and has no sexual interest in children.

“It was while he was in the haze of drink.”

Mr Scarborough said the defendant was fully employed and has a good work ethic, despite having had some health issues, but he had to concede the offending crossed the custody threshold.

He urged the judge to pass a sentence of two years or under to enable it to be in the suspendable range.

But Judge Adams said despite claiming to be unable to recall downloading the offending material, and purporting to have no sexual interest in children, the 200-plus images and videos on his phone were, “just about as bad as it gets”, featuring victims as young as three suffering, “gross acts of child abuse”.

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He said the distribution offence featuring a category A video was, “an extremely serious matter”

Imposing a 30-month prison sentence, Judge Adams said in the circumstances of his offending, “there is no question of suspending that sentence.”

He also made Hindmarch subject of a ten-year SHPO, telling him, “you clearly present a risk to children,” and he ordered that the defendant should be subject of registration as a sex offender for life.