February 2022

‘Pathetic’ Jarrow pervert tried to hide phone with child abuse images on in loo during police search

A “pathetic” pervert had more than 2,000 child abuse images on a mobile phone he tried to hide in a toilet during a police raid.

Christopher Downs asked to use the bathroom while officers searched his home and took the chance to conceal his device in the cistern.

But Newcastle Crown Court heard an officer stationed outside the bathroom suspected the 36-year-old was up to something and the phone was found when the toilet was checked.

Prosecutor Peter Byrne told the court an illegal collection of 2,178 images, across all three categories of seriousness were stored on the handset.

A total of 991 pictures and videos were in Category A, which is the most serious, 608 were in Category B and 579 in Category C.

Downs, who has a previous conviction from 2006 for possessing indecent images of children, had also distributed some of his sickening collection, featuring abused children as young as five, to another person.

Mr Byrne told the court police raided Downs’ home on October 9 2019 with a search warrant and added: “The defendant was present.

“At first he gave false details, those of his brother but it soon emerged he was Christopher Downs.

“While the warrant was being executed the defendant asked to use the toilet and this was allowed.

“A PC stationed outside could hear what the defendant was doing and heard the cistern of the toilet being moved.

“It was discovered he had put his mobile phone in the cistern.”

The court heard Downs refused to provide police with the pin number for the phone and it was sent away to an outside agency, at a cost of £2,160, to be unlocked.

Downs, of Regent Road, Jarrow, South Tyneside, eventually admitted the images on the phone were his and blamed a cocaine habit for him “becoming disinhibited”.