August 2022

Heads Nook man shared sickening child abuse images

A North Cumbrian man has been put on the Sex Offender Register after he admitted possessing – and distributing – child abuse images.

John Henderson, 25, pleaded guilty to five offences when he appeared before magistrates at the city’s Rickergate court. The defendant, from Heads Nook, near Brampton, admitted the following allegations:

  • * Possessing 40 indecent child images classed as Category A, the most serious kind of child abuse image dealt with by the courts.

  • * Possessing 16 Category B indecent child images.

  • * Possessing 22 Category C indecent child images.

  • * Downloading 78 indecent child images.

  • * And distributing Category A child abuse images.

The image possession offences were committed on October 15, 2020, while the distribution offence happened between May 12, 2020, and October 16 of that year. The distribution offence was committed over the same period.

This involved six Category A images of children, the court heard.

Prosecutor Pam Ward told the court that Henderson’s offending came to light after police received a referral from an “outside law enforcement agency” regarding the downloading of indecent child images in October, 2020.

“Officers carried out a search of the at the defendant’s address,” said Mrs Ward. The officers seized devices capable of connecting with the internet.

In the house at the time of the police visit were the defendant’s parents and another family member while Henderson himself was in his bedroom. He handed over his mobile phone while police also seized a computer tower.

Mrs Ward said: “As is usual, those devices were sent for analysis and illegal items were found on both.” Given the nature of the Category A images found, said the prosecutor, sentence should be passed at the crown court.

Such serious offences ordinarily have a sentence starting point of three years custody, the court heard. Magistrates agreed that the offending was too serious for them to deal with. They ordered a background pre-sentence report.

Addressing the defendant directly, magistrates said that he will now be subject to interim registration on the Sex Offender Register. This involves him reporting to his local police station within three days.

He must provide his name, national insurance number, bank and passport details, and any address where lives or may stay. If he plans to travel abroad, he must give the police seven days advanced notice.

The defendant, whose family were in court to support him, will be sentenced at the city’s crown court on September 6. The period for which the defendant will be on the Sex Offender Register will be determined by the length and type of sentence that he is ultimately given at the crown court.