Sex offender who distributed indecent images of children jailed
- Credit: Norfolk Police
A sex offender was found to have breached his order by downloading indecent child images and distributing them on a secret phone after struggling in lockdown, a court heard.
Shaun Turrell, 56, who was subject to checks by police officers, was suspected of having a phone which he kept hidden from the authorities, Norwich Crown Court was told on Friday.
Marc Brown, prosecuting, said as a convicted sex offender Turrell had to disclose if he had any devices which could access the internet. Mr Brown said that Turrell claimed he did not have a smartphone and only had a basic phone, without internet access.
However acting on a tip-off, police carried out a search of Turrell's home and found a smart phone hidden in a drawer in his bedroom.
Mr Brown said when analysed, the device showed that Turrell had downloaded indecent images, including some in the most serious category, and had shared images with another person on a chatroom site which he had been using.
Mr Brown said it was not the first time that Turrell had breached court orders and downloaded indecent child images.
The court heard Turrell had previous convictions for possession and distribution of indecent images of children and was also in breach of an eight week suspended sentence given to him.
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Turrell, formerly of Old Hunstanton Road, Hunstanton, admitted distribution and downloading indecent images and breaching his Sexual Harm Prevention Order and was jailed for 33 months.
He was also placed on the sex offenders register for life.
Isobel Ascherson, for Turrell, said that he had re-offended during a particularly difficult time in lockdown.
She said he had been thrown out of the family home but had then had to help care for his elderly mother, who ended up in hospital in Norwich.
Ms Ascherson said although not an excuse, the stress of what was happening and the rigours of lockdown made him re-offend.
She said that 2020 had been a particularly difficult year for him.
Sentencing Turrell, Recorder Simon Taylor said he accepted lockdown and his family difficulties had made it harder for Turrell, but said: "These are very serious matters indeed."