July 2023

County Durham paedophile who uploaded child abuse images to Facebook jailed

A County Durham paedophile who produced and distributed child sexual abuse images over Facebook has been caged.

Andrew Longthorne began chatting to strangers on social media – one of whom was a convicted sex offender – and sent them horrific child abuse images and videos between 2016 and 2018.

The 34-year-old discussed sexual fantasies with those he chatted to online and sent over category A, B and C material – some of which he had created himself.

On Monday, Longthorne, of Spennymoor, appeared at Durham Crown Court via video link from HMP Durham to be sentenced for charges relating to the production of indecent images and distribution of indecent images. He had pleaded guilty to the offences.

Anne Richardson, prosecuting, said Durham Police received a number of referrals relating to the uploading of indecent images to Facebook in 2018.

An IP address was recovered which linked Longthorne to the distribution and inquiries were made.

The court was told that Longthorne used social media profiles in other names to send photographs to strangers, including to one who was a convicted sex offender.

On one occasion he masqueraded as a young girl to enter into chats.

As well as indecent images, Ms Richardson said Longthorne sent pictures of himself during the chats and was finally arrested in 2018.

He initially denied the offences and claimed not to have a sexual interest in children but later pleaded guilty on his first appearance at the crown court.

Sentencing Longthorne, Judge Ata Dallas jailed him for 31 months and made him subject of an indefinite sexual harm prevention order. He will also be on the sex offender’s register for life.