A pervert who argued depression and anxiety led to him downloading thousands of indecent images of children has been jailed.
Graham Pitcairn had received a suspended prison sentence in 2008 for “similar offences”, Canterbury Crown Court heard.
But in 2019 the retail worker was found to be hoarding more than 3,000 still and 64 moving images ranging from the worst, category A, to category C.
Devices discovered in the 46-year-old’s home contained a number of videos showing children being abused.
The court heard Pitcairn, of Folkestone Road, Dover, told officers he was attracted to children and handed over a laptop and two memory sticks when they attended his home following a tip-off.
James Benson, prosecuting, explained Pitcairn used the dark web via proxy servers to access the material.
“He felt it had become an addiction and it had helped his depression,” he said.
Pitcairn kept his eyes on the floor, not once looking up as Mr Benson delivered the prosecution’s case.
The barrister highlighted aggravating features including some children being as young as four and the illicit material being downloaded and stored.
He also had a previous (criminal) record for similar offences and possessed a “high volume of images”, he added.
Mitigating, John Barker handed the judge various written references from Pitcairn’s family, including one from his ex-wife following his previous offending.
“He instructs me that he had become something of a hermit,” he said. “He was living alone, had broken off much of the social contact he had built up, and this culminated in these feelings of anxiety and depression.
“I’m afraid the only person you are lying to with these claims is yourself.”
“While he didn’t realise at the time, he was suffering from mental health difficulties which emerged during the (previous) community order.”
He added Pitcairn pleaded guilty at an early opportunity to possessing indecent images and three counts of making indecent images.
He held 481 category A images, 1,044 category B and 1,837 category C when he was arrested in May 2019.
Judge Simon James ordered the devices be destroyed before jailing Pitcairn for 15 months.
“You were placed on an intense three-year sexual offenders’ programme (after your previous conviction). It seemed that it failed to address your underlying issues with thousands of indecent images being received from our computer,” he said.
“The children depicted in indecent images are real children and the crimes committed against them are extremely serious.”
The judge explained probation reports showed Pitcairn “regressed from insight” after he claimed the images inadvertently found their way on his computer.
“I’m afraid the only person you are lying to with these claims is yourself,” he said.
Pitcairn will be added to the Sex Offenders’ Register and the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years on release from custody.
Detective Sergeant David Shipley, of Kent Police’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team, said: “The children depicted in indecent images are real children and the crimes committed against them are extremely serious.
“Anyone who takes part in the trade of these images is complicit in that abuse.
“My team is committed to identifying anyone who accesses or downloads such images, tracking them down and bringing them before the courts.
“The Sexual Harm Prevention Order imposed on this offender will prevent him from accessing or sharing such images for a considerable amount of time.”
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