An "immature" young man “immersed himself in a dark world”, seeking out indecent images of children from the internet and covertly filming two males doing private acts, a court heard.

Durham Crown Court heard that Cameron Greaves, then only 19, was subject of a police investigation into his Instagram account and was arrested in October 2022, when electronic devices, including his phone, were seized.

Sixteen indecent images of children, half in the most serious category, plus photographs classed as extreme pornographic images, were found in an examination of the phone.

But, Charlie Thompson, prosecuting, said following further examination, an unspecified number of covertly taken photos were also recovered featuring two males performing various private acts, unaware they were being filmed.

The Northern Echo: Cameron Greaves jailed at Durham Crown Court for voyeurism and indecent images offences

Greaves was said to have made reference to these images on two chat rooms sites, including Grindr, while speaking to other users.

When questioned, he gave “no comment” replies to police in a first interview, after the phone was seized in October 2022.

Mr Thompson said, similarly, in a second interview, last month, he also gave “no comment” replies other than to confirm he had full responsibility for the devices seized by police.

Greaves, 21, of Hawes Crescent, Crook, admitted two counts of voyeurism, three of making indecent photos of a child and one of possessing extreme pornography, when he appeared before magistrates last month.

The crown court sentencing hearing was told he was of previous good character.

Mr Thompson said it is the prosecution’s case that the covert images were taken for the defendant’s own sexual gratification and he seemed happy to talk about them with other chat room users.

Cole Cockburn, in mitigation, said the defendant has engaged in “some very dark thoughts” and, “immersed himself into a dark world”, having, “sought disturbing ways of gratifying himself.”

The defendant appeared for the sentencing hearing via video link from nearby HMP Durham, where he has been on remand.

Mr Cockburn told the court: “He sits in prison feeling very deep regret and he’s extremely sorry for the harm he has caused.

“He pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and has accepted the relevant device was his.

“He’s been polite and cooperative and made full and frank disclosures.

“He was immature, isolated and a vulnerable 19-year-old at the time of his offending and he’s just, now, turned 21.

“He’s a fantasist and has not bridged the gap between fantasising and doing these things, in reality.

“He has strong personal mitigation, and there is his age and lack of maturity which can be considered.

“This was an unsightly stain on a previously unblemished record.”

Mr Cockburn said the defendant was “well spoken of” by colleagues at his former place-of-work, where he held down a bar job.

The Northern Echo:

Judge Jo Kidd told Greaves his offending took place over ten months in 2022 and, referring to the voyeurism counts, “they were the most serious of offences”.

She imposed consecutive nine-month sentences for each count of voyeurism, totalling 18 months, to which she made the total six-month sentence for all the indecent child images and extreme pornography offences concurrent.

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Despite his lack of previous offending, Judge Kidd told Greaves she could not suspend the sentence due to the serious nature of the voyeurism offences.

Judge Kidd made the defendant subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) and notification requirements as a sex offender, which will both run for ten years.

She also made a deprivation order for the seized devices, which the court heard were still the subject of police scrutiny.