Man jailed again for indecent images - Hertford

21/08/2013

Hertford man Stephen Hankin was told by a judge today it was "shocking" that he had stooped to the level of watching young children being abused on the internet.

To make matters worse, said Judge John Plumstead at St Albans Crown Court Hankin had already notched up a previous conviction for watching sickening child sex images on the internet for which he had been jailed. Even so the court heard, he had been unable to control the urge to watch more of the material after his release. He amassed a collection of depraved images on his computer running into the thousands.

Today, Hankin, 55, of Cowper Crescent, Hertford, appeared for sentence having been convicted in July at the North and East Herts Magistrates' Court of 10 offences of making indecent photos of a child, two of possessing indecent photos of a child, and one offence of possessing extreme pornography.

The married father of two had been convicted in 2008 for downloading images and jailed for 14 months and his name added to the sex offenders register.

That conviction meant he was subject to random and unannounced visits to his home by officers from the Public Protection Unit of Hertfordshire Police. They could enter his home and inspect his computer to see if he was visiting internet sites to view and download child sex material.

Kevin West prosecuting said it was following such a visit on 19 January this year that officers discovered Hankin was up to his old tricks and had, during 2012, downloaded thousands of sex abuse images.

Mr West said Hankin had collected more than 14,000 images, but included in the collection were 329 of the very worst type of photos of young children, some under 10, being subjected to sickening sexual acts.

The prosecutor said Hankin told police he had been unable to stop himself from downloading the images.

Tim Nutley defending said following Hankin's first conviction in 2008, Hankin had lost his job and his marriage had suffered.

He said following this conviction the defendant had again lost employment and his wife had moved out.

"He does feel remorse, particularly for the effect this will have on his family," said Mr Nutley.

He said Hankin "may have a genuine problem," which has caused him to offend and he said he hoped to get help to deal with it while in custody.

Judge Plumstead jailed Hankin for 16 months and ordered his name be placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years. He also made him the subject of a sexual offences prevention order (SOPO).

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