September 2004

Pervert fuelled fantasies at cafe

A PERVERT who had his computers seized after being caught accessing child porn at work continued to fuel his fantasies at an internet cafe.

Neil Cunningham was suspected by colleagues at Voices community development network in Sunderland, to be viewing pornographic images at work in October last year.

The 44-year-old, who already had previous convictions for downloading child porn in December 2001, was arrested after concerned workmates from the Swan Street office contacted the police in November.

He was then suspended from his job and his work and home computers were kept to be examined by experts.

He was granted bail and ordered to return to the police station in March.

But prosecutor Caroline Goodwin told Newcastle Crown Court how, just a month before he was due to answer his bail, he was caught accessing more material at an internet cafe in South Shields.

Police seized the computer he had paid to use at the internet cafe and a total of 36 images, all categorised as being the least serious, were found.

His computer at work was found to contain 70 movie clips, half of which were legitimate adult porn and the rest child porn.

And it also contained 1,396 still images – the majority of which were in the least serious category with just one being classified as being more serious.

Joseph Hannan, chairman of Voices, said: “The organisation instigated the police action and has since supported the staff affected by this man’s actions.

“He was office based and never came into contact with children as a course of his work here.

“What happened came as a shock to everyone who works here. There was certainly nothing that showed up in his references that made us aware of any issues.”

Voices provides vital help in co-ordinating voluntary organisations in Sunderland into one network.

Cunningham, of Peel Avenue, Gilesgate Moor, Durham, admitted 14 charges of making and possessing indecent photographs of children in relation to the images on his work and home computer.

He admitted two charges of making indecent photos of a child in relation to the internet cafe.

Defence barrister Shaun Routledge told the court how Cunningham has now been sacked from his job and has separated from his wife and children.

Judge David Wood sentenced Cunningham to six months imprisonment with an 18-month extended licence period after his release.

The judge also made a sex offences prevention order which bans him from owning or using any computer or other equipment, which would enable to access indecent images for five years.

Cunningham will have to register as a sex offender for 10 years.