A sex offender’s repeated attempts to evade police scrutiny over his online activities have landed him behind bars, again.

Christopher Penrice, then known as Lloyd James Christopher Ditchburn, and living in Workington, in Cumbria, was jailed at Carlisle Crown Court in January 2022 for downloading indecent images of children and two counts of breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).

Those offences stemmed from his use of specialist software to put his phone into “incognito” mode, disabling police monitoring software and enabling him to download indecent images of children undetected.

The 26-year-old defendant, now living in Embleton Street, Seaham, under the name Penrice, appeared at Durham Crown Court on Thursday (May 16) where he admitted a further count of breaching the terms of his SHPO, as well as notification requirements as a sex offender, having indicated guilty pleas to two SHPO breaches at the magistrates' court, last month.

The Northern Echo: Christopher Penrice jailed at Durham Crown Court for breaching Sexual Harm Prevention Order and

Charlie Thompson, prosecuting, told the crown court sentencing hearing there has been, “a pattern of like offending, in breach of court orders”.

The SHPO was updated at court in Carlisle when he was sentenced in January 2022 and was to run for ten years, superseding a previous order imposed in 2020.

Among the terms of the order, he was prohibited from using cloud storage without informing the police or accessing file-sharing and chatroom facilities unless he provided his user name or password.

But on a monitoring visit at his home in Seaham on April 17, an officer checked the defendant’s mobile phone and discovered he had accessed a social networking site application, which was downloaded on April 2, without him having notified police, while also failing to provide a user name or password, in breach of the order.

He was also using a file-sharing system which he had failed to disclose to police and was using alias names, including Seaham2023 and hannaharris82.

Mr Thompson said in a further breach it was found Penrice was using a drop box storage application, accessed during March this year.

When interviewed he gave “no comment” replies, , but he indicated likely guilty pleas when he appeared before magistrates the following day.

The court heard his previous convictions stem back to 2014, as a juvenile, when he admitted offences of making and distributing indecent images of children.

He was again convicted for downloading indecent child images plus outraging public decency, an offence of “up-skirting”, in 2020, before the 2022 prison sentence was imposed for more images offences and breaching his SHPO.

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Mr Thompson said as part of his post-prison licence conditions following the 2022 conviction, Penrice was subject to the monitoring checks, which were due to expire this month.

He described his recent offending as, “a series of breaches which were persistent in nature.

“Considering his antecedent history and the nature of the offending his recent online offending and having unfettered access to file sharing media is a serious offence.

“Both are aggravated by numerous convictions for having indecent images of children and his past breaches.”

Calum McNicholas, in mitigation, said the defendant merited credit for his guilty pleas, at both the magistrates and crown courts for the offences, for which there was some “overlap”, as they all form part of the same offending.

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Judge Jo Kidd told Penrice: “You are a relatively young man who has managed to accrue a pattern of offending all geared towards accessing sexual images of children on the internet.

“These go back to the juvenile court in 2014, when you would have been a very young man.

“You were subject then to an intensive surveillance order, but that doesn’t seem to have had any deterrent effect as several years later you were back at court for further indecent images offences and committing an act outraging public decency.

“You were given the opportunity of direct targeting work to address your behaviour and interests and you were made subject of notification and a SHPO, but, unfortunately, you were back at court for offences of distributing indecent images and breaching a SHPO, in January 2022, for which you received a 32-month sentence and were made subject of a ten-year SHPO.

“The commission of these offences came while you were subject to post-sentence licence conditions and you have come up with new ways of trying to evade the prohibitions placed on you.

“Despite the supervision on you, you continue to use aliases and continue your interest in indecent images of children, in what were persistent breaches of your SHPO.”

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Imposing a 24-month prison sentence she also made Penrice subject of a new SHPO and notification requirement, both running for another ten years.

She also made a deprivation order of the phone seized and examined by police on the April 17 monitoring visit.

Judge Kidd reminded Penrice that committing further offences while on licence, following his release from his latest sentence would only land him behind bars for a further period of time.