Obsessive collector from Esh Winning jailed for amassing huge haul of indecent child images on his home computer

The Advertiser Series: Obsessive collector jailed for eight months at Durham Crown Court for amassing huge haul of indecent child images on his home computer Obsessive collector jailed for eight months at Durham Crown Court for amassing huge haul of indecent child images on his home computer

A MAN with a tendency to behave obsessively collected a huge volume of indecent images of children on his home computer.

But it was claimed Paul Ronald Carrick did not gain sexual gratification from the material.

Durham Crown Court was told amassing the haul was a result of his mild Asperger condition, which is low on the autism spectrum.

But he was still jailed as a judge said Carrick was “fully aware” what he was doing was illegal.

The court heard his lap-top computer and six hard-drives were seized by police from his home in Esh Winning, County Durham, on January 21.

Carrick told police both his wife and son’s lap-tops were “clean”, but his, “was not”.

Extensive examination of the contents revealed a total of 132,901 downloaded indecent images.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said almost 4,000 were classed in the two most severe brackets for such material.

Mr Dryden said after initially refusing to answer police questions, Carrick later accepted the images belonged to him, having “almost stumbled” upon them while looking at adult images.

“He said he had been 'an idiot' and was ‘relieved’ to have been caught as he was, ‘no longer the servant of the computer any more’,” added Mr Dryden.

Carrick, 45, of Fir Terrace, who has no previous convictions, admitted 16 counts of making and one of possession of indecent images of children.

Anne Richardson, mitigating, presented reports by a psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist, outlining that Carrick suffers mild Asperger's, or, “high-functioning autism”.

But she said: “He is fully aware what he was doing was unlawful.

“Unlike 99.9 per cent of cases of defendants guilty of similar offending, however, it’s not a case of him receiving sexual gratification, but evidence of his obsessive nature.

“If he’s collecting something he will collect it obsessively, whatever it be.

“He’s an intelligent man with a degree, but with a compulsion to collect,” said Miss Richardson, adding that he meticulously filed the downloaded images.

But Judge Christopher Prince said: “It’s said you’re a compulsive collector, but you knew perfectly well what you were doing was illegal.”

Jailing him for eight months, Judge Prince also made Carrick subject of a sexual offences prevention order and registration as a sex offender, both for life.

The court heard that he previously worked as an archaeological assistant and has had many hobbies, including war re-enactment, coin collecting, science fiction and bird watching.

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