A TRAINEE teacher who offered a young girl money to strip over the internet walked free from a court.
Ian Cook was given a three-year community order by Judge Christopher Prince, who ruled the order would offer more protection to the public than a prison sentence.
Durham Crown Court heard police found indecent images of children and extreme pornography on Cook’s computer.
Adrian Dent, prosecuting, said: “Officers from the safeguarding unit went to the defendant’s home after receiving information.
“They seized his HP laptop computer. The most serious image found on it was level three, on the one to five scale.
“There were 94 images of extreme pornography, many showing penetrative sex with animals.
“Evidence was found of sexual conversations from a number of email addresses, including one in which the defendant offered money for sexual images of a teenage girl from elsewhere in the country.”
The court heard Dove told police he gained sexual gratification from the pictures of teenage girls, but the bestial images were downloaded only out of curiosity.
Cook, 19, of Dovedale Court, Seaham, admitted four charges of possessing an indecent image of a child, four charges of possessing extreme pornography, and one charge of inciting a child to commit a sexual act.
Andrew Walker, defending, said the sentencing guidelines applied to Cook’s case suggested a non-custodial penalty.
Mr Walker observed the offence of inciting a child was committed when Cook was 18 years and 12 days old. “His actions would not have been an offence had he done the same thing before his 18th birthday,” added Mr Walker.
Judge Christopher Prince sentenced Cook to a three-year community order, with a condition he complete the sex offender treatment programme.
“I find Mr Walker’s submissions compelling,” the judge told Cook. “I could ignore the guidelines and send you to prison.
“But I have only one concern, to protect the public in the long-term.
“This will be best achieved by you undertaking the full sex offender treatment programme.
“It will equip you to ensure you do not behave this way in future.”
The judge ordered the confiscation of the computer hard drive on which the images were found.
Cook must register as a sex offender for five years.