A sex offender was warned he will find himself back behind bars if he breaches the terms of a restrictive court order again.

Durham Crown Court heard that monitoring software on Jonathan Frost's phone flagged up that he was viewing indecent images of children, on March 9.

He was arrested and despite initially making no comment to police, he subsequently admitted possessing indecent images of children, putting him in breach of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) and notification requirements as a sex offender.

Frost appeared at the court via video link from the city’s adjoining prison where he has spent the last month since his arrest.

The Northern Echo:

The court heard that the 42-year-old defendant, of Corscombe Close, Ferryhill, was sentenced to 14 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, after admitting engaging in sexual communication with a child and grooming a boy under 16, at Teesside Crown Court, in September 2021.

His offences, committed over the internet, were said to date from March 2020.

As part of the 2021 sentence, Frost was made subject of the terms of a SHPO and notification requirements as a sex offender, both for ten years.

Chris Morrison, prosecuting, said the order was meant to curtail his online activities and required him to declare any devices capable of accessing the internet and any apps he may have acquired.

Mr Morrison said monitoring software revealed the use of a device by Frost to view indecent images of children, on March 9 this year.

Officers visited his home and found he had used a mobile phone to access Snapchat, which he had not declared to police.

The device was seized and examined, revealing that Frost viewed two offending images or videos in category A, the most serious level for such material, plus one in category B.

The Northern Echo:

He was arrested and it was put to him that just hours after the monitoring software was installed that he accessed Snapchat.

It was said he later attempted to remove it, having viewed the indecent images on the device, all of which he refused to confirm, making no comment to police questioning.

Mr Morrison said notwithstanding those responses, Frost admitted the three offences at his first court appearance.

“They are aggravated by the fact it was a direct failure to comply with the court order.

“Although it was not immediately after his previous conviction it was not long after the expiry of the suspended sentence.”

Mr Morrison said the defendant has remained in custody since being charged with these offences last month.

Mark Phillips, for the defendant, said by his guilty pleas he has acknowledged responsibility for his actions.

“It was an offence for which he was bound to be caught due to the new monitoring software.

“He’s slightly confused how they (the indecent images) got there, but he accepts responsibility.

“He’s 42 and lives at home with his parents.

“He has a lonely life and has just one friend who he sees now and again.

“He has attended special educational facilities in the past and is described as being, ‘vulnerable’.

“He does have difficulty understanding things, which have to be explained to him more than once so that he understands what is required of him.”

Mr Phillips added that although the offences, “cross the custody threshold”, the defendant can be dealt with in the community, as he has previously worked satisfactorily with the Probation Service.

Judge Nathan Adams told Frost: “It’s right to say you complied with your requirements under the suspended sentence order, but shortly after it expired you breached the orders by installing Snapchat and failing to notify police.

“You then immediately used it to access indecent images of a minor.

“But the facility police have installed monitors your phone use and flagged up what you had done and, therefore, the harm was limited.

“You say you accept responsibility although you have expressed confusion how this material got there, but these things don’t just magically appear when you download an application.

“You need to accept that and address it.”

The judge said he noted, however, it was the defendant’s first breach, having previously completed all the orders as part of his previous sentence.

Imposing an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, the judge ordered Frost to attend 40 rehabilitation activity days with the Probation Service.

Judge Adams told him: “I’ll make it absolutely plain any further breaches will result in that sentence being activated.

See more court stories from The Northern Echo by clicking here

HMP Frankland inmate Joe Outlaw staged roof-top protest over treatment

Female inmate with 'behavioural issues' attacked prison staff in Durham

County Durham sex offender accessed dating apps, breaching court order

Don't miss out on the latest news and stories. Subscribe to The Northern Echo for just £2 for 2 months, by clicking here

“If you don’t want to go back to prison you must complete those 40 rehabilitation activity days with the Probation Service.

“I very much hope this is a very clear warning and I hope this is an end to matters.”

The judge also ordered forfeiture and destruction of the phone on which the images were found.