July 2022

Pervert admitted passing some child sex abuse images on to other like-minded individuals

An avid “collector” of child sexual abuse material from the internet has been spared an immediate prison sentence, “by a hair’s breadth”.

Tahmid Qureshi downloaded and systematically stored more than 2,000 images and videos of children suffering sex abuse at the hands of adults.

But as he made immediate admissions and is trying to address his behaviour, he was given the chance to avoid an immediate prison sentence.

Anne Richardson, prosecuting, said acting on information, police attended an address in Alexandrina Street, Seaham, on March 8 last year.

Qureshi was arrested and a number of devices were seized, including a memory card, mobile phone and a tablet computer, all found in the defendant’s bedroom.

He was interviewed weeks later and admitted possessing a large number of images, some of which he sent to other like-minded individuals.

The defendant said he downloaded images to his phone, then transferred them onto a memory card, before deleting them from his phone.

He told police he obtained them through Kik and Telegram and said he had thousands of still and moving images, believing they featured girls aged 12 and above.

Asked whether he uploaded any images to the internet or sent any to anyone else, he stated he had not sent links but rather single images, which had been shared with a few individuals, none of whom he knew personally.

Miss Richardson said the Crown considered bringing a charge relating to the sharing of the images, but after further examination of the defendant’s devices failed to reveal incriminating information it was decided against adding a count of distribution.

Forensic analysis of the seized devices revealed a total of 2,001 images and videos of an indecent category, including 525 still and 66 moving images in the most severe category.

One prohibited cartoon image was also found on the memory card.

Miss Richardson said the memory card used to move on the images to other devices may have been wiped, ready for transferring further material.

She added that the aggravating features of the case include the large number of images, many of them videos, the age and vulnerability of those depicted, some of whom are visibly distressed or in pain.

There was also evidence of systematic storage of the images.

The 25-year-old defendant, with no previous convictions, admitted three counts of making indecent photos of children, plus possessing a prohibited image of a child.

Judge James Adkin told Qureshi: “You have been a collector of images of real children being sexually abused.”

He said because of people like him it creates a market encouraging filming of further abuse of other children.

But Judge Adkin said the defendant was of previous good character and had shown remorse, plus, “a clear motivation”, to address his behaviour.

He, therefore, imposed a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, during which Qureshi must complete 180 hours’ unpaid work, attend probation-led rehabilitation activity days and take part in an accredited sex offender treatment programme.

Qureshi was also made subject to constraints over future use of the internet by way of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, as well as the need to comply with registration requirements as a sex offender, both for ten years.

The judge added that Qureshi escaped an immediate prison sentence, “by a hair’s breadth”, and would go to prison if there is any repeat or a failure to complete the various requirements of the sentence.