A CONVICTED child abuser from Warwick who stored thousands of indecent images of children, including being raped, has been branded a danger by a judge.
Steven Cook had pleaded guilty to three charges of making indecent images of children, three of distributing images and also admitting being in breach of a sexual offences prevention order.
And Warwick Crown Court heard that as well as having indecent images, Cook had worryingly been using his phone to take pictures of children outside Warwick schools and in parks.
After ruling that he poses an on-going risk to children, a judge gave him an extended prison sentence and ordered him to register as a sex offender for life.
The 36 year-old of Lakin Road, was jailed for four years, of which he will have to serve at least two-thirds before the Parole Board considers his release.
He will only be freed before serving the whole term if it is considered safe to do so, and will be on licence for the rest of the sentence and for a further four years – during which he can be recalled to prison if his behaviour gives cause for concern.
Explaining the background to the case, prosecutor Rebecca Wade said in 2006 Cook had been jailed for 12 months for indecent assault and gross indecency with a 13 year-old girl.
As a convicted sex offender Cook was monitored by a police offender manager who would visit him at his home.
On one unannounced visit in February this year, after a general chat, the officer then asked to see his mobile phone.
But as Cook picked it up to hand it over, he tried to delete something from it.
The officer took the phone from him and saw an image of a girl in her very early teens in a low-cut dress, and online chat with girls as young as five, some referring to him as ‘daddy.’
Cook was asked if he had another phone, and claimed he did not, but a second one was found and seized, together with a laptop computer, a tablet and a number of memory cards.
He denied he was sexually attracted to children, and although he accepted recording images of children outside schools and in parks in Warwick ‘on average once a day,’ he said they were not indecent.
Cook agreed that, in breach of the sexual offences prevention order, he had formed a relationship with sisters aged eight and 13 in Canada, taking part in unsupervised online chat with them several times a day.
He claimed apart from what was on that phone, his other devices and the memory cards were ‘clean.’
But on them police experts found thousands of photos and hundreds of movies featuring children, many involving rape.
Eugene Hickey, defending, conceded: “The view of the pre-sentence report author is that at this moment in time he presents a high risk of serious harm to children.”
Jailing Cook, Recorder Steven Evans told him: “Because people like you have sexual interests in children, children somewhere in the world are sexually abused and filmed.
“You have acknowledged you have a sexual interest in children. Until someone takes that step, no work can be done with them, but you remain a very high risk of re-offending, a high risk to children.”