September 2023

Lying paedo tried to blame ex after police found stash of 1,500 child sex abuse photos

A paedophile busted with a vile haul of more than 1,500 child sex abuse pictures after being linked to a New Zealand tech firm has walked free from court.

Unemployed sex offender Jack Harris of Henn Drive, Tipton, looked at horrific images of schoolchildren after opening accounts with the foreign company.

He even attempted to throw officers from the National Crime Agency ‘off the trail’ by blaming his ex-boyfriend for his stash of ‘repellant’ images. The 28-year-old has now avoided immediate jail time for his sick crimes.

Wolverhampton Crown Court heard how Mega Limited, based in Auckland, provides cloud computer storage and file hosting. Authorities became aware its services were being used by some users for ‘illicit purposes’, prosecutor David Jackson said.

The firm then undertook an audit between September and October 2019 to establish which users were accessing indecent images of children. Harris was found to have two accounts with Mega Limited, using two different email addresses.

A team from the NCA analysed the information and linked the accounts to the defendant’s then-home in Tipton. Officers travelled to the West Midlands to ‘carry out searches’ before tracking Harris to a new address in Devereux Road, West Bromwich, in November 2020.

He was then arrested. The defendant handed over the passwords for his Samsung mobile phone, iPad and Samsung laptop, while a number of portable storage devices were also seized.

More than 1,500 indecent images were uncovered, with children as young as five seen being abused. Harris confirmed to officers during interview that he owned the Mega Limited accounts but blamed his ex-boyfriend for accessing the material from December 2018 until August 2020.

Mr Jackson said: “The NCA made enquiries. [Harris’ ex-partner] made it clear he had never downloaded any indecent material and that he had never used any of the defendant’s devices.”

But Harris insisted he had been friends with his ex-boyfriend before they started a relationship in early 2019, ‘still apparently insinuating he was responsible’, Mr Jackson added.

Harris – who had no previous convictions or cautions – admitted three counts of making indecent photographs of children and one count of making an extreme pornographic image.

Sentencing, Recorder Stephens opted not to describe an extreme pornographic image downloaded by Harris, branding it ‘repellant’.

He handed Harris a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years, along with a 40-day rehabilitation activity requirement, a six-month curfew and £500 costs.

The defendant must remain on the sex offenders register for 10 years and a 10-year sexual harm prevention order.