An 81-year-old paedophile who downloaded child porn despite being given a suspended prison sentence for an identical offence six years ago has been jailed for six months.

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More than 700 indecent images of children were found on computer equipment belonging to Patrick O’Brien, of Bonds Meadow, Oulton Broad, near Lowestoft, during a routine visit to his north Suffolk home by officers to check activity on his computer following his conviction in 2007.

Michael Crimp, prosecuting, told the court that following O’Brien’s conviction for downloading child porn in 2007 he was made the subject of sexual offences prevention order (SOPO) restricting his use of computer equipment.

During a visit to his home in January last year officers found O’Brien had set up an MSN messaging account in breach of the SOPO and had stored a number of images.

Of the 740 images found, on a scale of one to five with level five being the most serious, more than 300 were at level one, 53 were at level two, 250 were at level three, 160 were at level four and one was at level five.

O’Brien admitted two offences of making indecent images of children, two offences of possessing indecent images, one offence of possessing prohibited images and attempted breach of a sexual offences prevention order.

Jailing him for six months Judge Rupert Overbury said that despite his age custody was a “necessary punishment”.

He said O’Brien had pleaded guilty in 2007 to making and possessing indecent images of children and had claimed he was trying to identify people who were abusing children in order to provide information to the police.

Judge Overbury said that excuse was nonsense and said he was satisfied that O’Brien had the images because he was sexually interested in young children.

Andrew Thompson for O’Brien said his client had been sexually and physically abused as a schoolboy.

He said O’Brien claimed he wasn’t sexually motivated in downloading the images and this prevented him from attending a programme which could address his offending behaviour.

He said O’Brien had no convictions until he was 75 when he was given a suspended prison sentence for the earlier offences the court had heard about.

Mr Thompson said his client’s wife had threatened to leave him if reoffended in the future.

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