Paedophile jailed for possessing 3,900 indecent images of children

A PAEDOPHILE who had a total of 3,900 indecent images of children on his phone has been jailed.

Neil Copnell (52) had used a TOR browser to mask his online activity but was caught when police visited him to check he was complying with a previous court order, Sheffield Crown Court heard last Friday.

Mr Anthony Moore, prosecuting, said Copnell, of Westpit Hill, Brampton Bierlow, had a history of taking indecent images of children.

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When he was in court last May, he received a non-custodial sentence but he was given a sexual harm prevention order.

Mr Moore said: “When a PC visited Copnell in relation to his SHPO, the defendant’s phone was examined and images were found, and the phone was seized.

“His laptop was also searched but there was no record of illicit content.”

Mr Moore added police had found 267 Category A — the most extreme — still images of children, 269 Category B still images and 3,342 Category C images on Copnell’s phone, some of which had been inaccessible.

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Copnell also had had 22 prohibited images as well, said Mr Moore, who added that the images had been found in various locations on the phone.”

Mr Moore added Copnell had also had the TOR browser uploaded on his phone to mask his identity and actions.

However, Mr Moore said, “there was no evidence of distributing” these images.

Copnell had been arrested in November last year, Mr Moore added, and had made no comment when interviewed.

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Ms Claire Moran, mitigating, said: “He accepts that his offending was sexually motivated.

“He does have a long-standing addiction to these types of materials.”

Judge Rachael Harrison acknowledged that Copnell had pleaded guilty to the charges on the first occasion,

She noted Copnell had been in court for similar offences last year, when he was spared immediate custody but given an SHPO, as an alternative.

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The judge said had Copnell been dealt on that occasion, he would have received seven months in prison for each count.

She told him: “You were still downloading images.

“You hid what you were doing from your partner and the police.”

Copnell was jailed for a total of 27 months for breaching the SHPO, including seven months for the original offences he admitted last year.

He also received concurrent sentences of ten months for making Class A indecent photographs of a child, four months for making Class B indecent photographs of a child and a month for making Class C indecent photographs of a child.