A TEENAGER who confessed he was “obsessed” with watching images of children being abused has been spared jail.
John King had almost 3,000 sickening pictures and movies when police came to his home after a tip-off in December 2013.
The 19-year-old told detectives what they would find on his computer when they arrived at his door, and admitted he had been viewing such images since he was just 12.
Prosecutor Paul Rowland told Newcastle Crown Court: “He said, during the course of police interview, child porn had become an obsession with him.
“He accepted he had last viewed such imagery on his computer that day.”
King, of Glencourse, East Boldon, pleaded guilty to making and possessing 2,879 illegal images of children. The pictures and video clips ranged from the most serious to the least serious categories.
Judge Simon Hickey sentenced him to a community order for three years with supervision, sex offender treatment programme requirements and a sex offenders’ prevention order for 10 years.
King must sign the sex offenders’ register for five years.
Judge Hickey said: “You immediately admitted what you had been doing, and immediately admitted how long you had been doing it. You were a child yourself when you started looking at such images and continued to do so, which is sad in the extreme.
“Imprisonment, while richly deserved, would not address the problem. No-one would help you, no-one would stop you.”
Vic Laffey, defending, said King has never been in trouble before and was of “exemplary” character.
Mr Laffey said: “His reaction on arrest was relief, he knew this day was coming.
“This is one of those cases where I can say, with some confidence, this young man will never appear before a court again.
“He acknowledges the impact and shame he has brought upon his parents.”
Mr Laffey said King has co-operated with the authorities since his arrest and will continue to do so.