Repeat sex offender jailed again after being caught with indecent images of children

Frank Cousins.

Frank Cousins.

An "artist" with a shocking history of serious sex offending has been put behind bars after being caught with indecent pictures of children.

Frank Cousins, who sells his artwork and sculptures to customers at trade fairs, has previously served a nine year jail sentence for a sex attack and been convicted three times in the past for possessing vile images.

The 51-year-old, who was already the subject of a lifelong Sexual Harm Prevention Order, had his home raided by the police after a tip-off last April.

Officers found two mobile phones containing over 100 indecent pictures of children, one believed to be as young as 5, being abused.

At Newcastle Crown Court Cousins, who was previously sentenced for crimes while living in Sunderland, pleaded guilty to three specimen charges of making indecent photographs.

The court heard his latest sickening collection included 70 category A images, which are the most serious category of their type.

Prosecutor Paul Roland told the court: "The clear aggravating feature in this case is the previous convictions of the defendant for like offences."

The court heard it was in 2000 Cousins was jailed for nine years for offences of gross indecency, indecent assault and possession of indecent images.

In 2007 he was given a suspended sentence for making indecent images.

In 2010, while he was living in Sunderland, he was caught with a collection of similarly sickening images after being arrested for trying to take a photograph of a little girl at the Bridges Shopping Centre. He was given a community sentence due to the time he had spent on remand.

In 2012 he was caught with another illegal collection of images and given a further community order.

Judge Penny Moreland reminded Cousins, now of Locomotion Way, North Shields, that it is real children in real, horrifying situations that are featured in the pictures he had searched online for.

The judge told him: "One of the children who is depicted is a girl aged 5 to 9, depicted in a category A image.

"That was a real child, a real little girl, aged five to nine, forced to do that so you can look at pictures of it happening."

The judge sentenced Cousins to 12 months behind bars, with a 10-year sex offender registration.

Judge Moreland told him: "You have had three periods of supervision under the terms of various orders and you are still looking at these images of children, indecent images of children.

"There is no reason to think any further period of supervision or intervention will prevent you from doing that."

Paul Caulfield, defending, said Cousins sought professional help straight after his latest relapse, which happened during the breakdown of a relationship.

Mr Caulfield said Cousins feels "hounded" by the press and has made a success of his business, "notwithstanding adverse publicity and obvious hostility he would attract in his local community".

He added: "He is a self-employed artist and sculptor. He attends trade fairs and the like to sell his products.

"He has managed to make his business succeed."

Mr Caulfield said the images on the phones had been deleted by Cousins and could only be retrieved using specialist software, which he did not have access to.