Update: Now called Tom Burns. Recently moved to Kidderminster

January 2004

Child sexual abuse images found on work computer

AN office worker who used his company computer to access child sexual abuse images has walked free from court.

Darren Burns’ machine was seized after human resource staff at VA Tech Reyrolle in Hebburn became suspicious about him breaking company policy to surf the Internet at work.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how the 26-year-old ended up being investigated by his bosses, who quickly contacted the police when it was realised what type of material he was looking at.

Prosecutor Caroline Goodwin told the court how police removed the computer from his work station, as well as one found at his Jarrow home.

A total of 222 paedophilic images were found between the two machines, of which only two were categorised as being the most serious.

Miss Goodwin told the court: “They found a number of images, both on the machine at work and on his computer at home.

“It was apparent a number of web pages dealing with the production of illicit paedophilic material were being visited by the defendant.”

Burns pleaded guilty to making and possessing indecent photographs of children in July and August 2002 at an earlier hearing.

Defence barrister Carl Gumsley said Burns has now lost his job and has seen his home become a target for vigilante attacks, resulting in him moving to a new address.

Judge David Hodson said custody could be avoided due to Burns’ attitude towards his offending, his guilty plea, and the changes in his life since he committed the offences.

The judge said: “A relatively short sentence of imprisonment would not begin to deal with your problems.

“It seems to me a more constructive way is with a community rehabilitation order.”

As part of the order Burns, formerly of Elberfeld Court, Jarrow, must attend a sex offender group work programme. He must also register as a sex offender for five years.