Computer expert seeks help to change behaviour which led to him downloading sickening images

A COMPUTER expert who amassed a sickening collection of more than 40,000 indecent images blamed an obsessive compulsive disorder for his warped interest.

Christopher Downing, 36, had pornographic pictures and films of children, filthy cartoons of youngsters and some movies and stills of sex scenes involving animals.

Police raided the home he shared with his parents in Stockton in February last year after learning he had been visiting obscene websites, Teesside Crown Court heard.

His barrister told the court: "There seems to be something of a background of obsessive compulsive behaviour which he actually tells me is something of a family trait.

"Unfortunately, in his case, it has developed in a way which led him to break the law . . . he is on a waiting list now to get cognitive behaviour therapy - talking therapy."

The court heard that Downing, an IT support worker who now lives in Darlington, had sought help from a child protection charity which runs treatment programmes.

Adrian Dent, mitigating, said he had demonstrated he wants to change, and told Judge Howard Crowson: "He has done his level best to take steps to sort himself out.

"He does express his deep shame and remorse, and he is shamed in front of his family and the rest of the community. He has spent his time since his arrest very frightened.

"The other aspect of his offending is that it will most likely bring to an end his employment, so there is an additional punishment there for him," added Mr Dent.

Downing, of Leafield Road, Darlington, admitted charges of making and possessing indecent images of children, prohibited images and images of extreme pornography.

He was given a three-year community order, put on the sex offenders' register for five years, and was banned from having unsupervised contact with under-16s.

Judge Crowson told Downing, who was of previous good character, but had spent two-and-a-half years downloading filth, that the terms of his supervision would be onerous.

"What you have done is abhorrent," the judge said. "I am confident in your case that it may well succeed, but if you don't, you will come back before me.

"I am very much impressed by the references I have read from your family who have struggled with the knowledge of what you have done, but have, in the end, found it within themselves to support you."

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