September 2022

Durham paedophile jailed after being caught with software to wipe internet history from computer

A paedophile pensioner has been jailed for order breaches after police found out he had cleaning software installed on his computer.

Edward Tomlinson was given a suspended prison sentence in March last year for possessing sickening indecent images which involved children as young as two years old.

The 74-year-old was also made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order and told to attend rehabilitation days.

But Tomlinson breached the sexual harm prevention order three times after police were tipped off in May last year that he had three different types of software installed on his computer – which would have allowed him to delete and conceal his internet browsing history.

Tomlinson, of Luke Avenue, Cassop, Durham, appeared at Durham Crown Court on Tuesday to be sentenced for the breaches. He pleaded guilty at a previous hearing.

Anthony Pettengell, prosecuting, said Tomlinson was handed a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months on March 12, last year, for charges of making indecent images.

The pensioner was found in possession of category A, B, and C images, as well as extreme porn and prohibited images of children. The court was told that the children involved in the images were as young as two-years-old.

But on July 5, last year, police went to Tomlinson’s home and arrested him after it was found that he had software on his computer that he was banned from having.

Mr Pettengell said: “Police searched his property and seized a Samsung tablet and a computer unit. The computer was examined and a cleaner was found which had been run at least three times by the user.

The mobile phone was examined and it showed a privacy browser had been installed.”

In interview, Tomlinson claimed he had the software installed in order to stream movies and had used the privacy browser as a search engine instead of Google in order to avoid adverts.

Mr Pettengell added that no indecent material was found on the computer or mobile phone following examinations but he was in breach of his suspended sentence.

Sentencing him, Judge James Adkin said: “It seems to me that the inference from those three software programmes was to hide your internet activity as you still maintain an interest in hiding what you are doing.”

He said he has “ongoing concerns about the risks” Tomlinson presents and jailed him for 14 months.