Man jailed over 'depraved' child porn collection

A 39-year-old man who built up and shared a library of depraved images of child abuse was jailed for more than seven years today.

A judge said former hospital storeroom assistant Mark Hough's addiction to child pornography amounted to a "serious disease".



Some of the tens of thousands of images collected by Hough, of Franklands Village, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, depicted abuse of toddlers aged under three.



Despite being arrested on suspicion of child porn offences, he returned to his old ways and searched for more pictures while on bail after buying a new laptop.



Lewes Crown Court heard that Hough's obsession with child porn started after he was made redundant following nearly 20 years in the same job and became depressed.



It was said that Hough - described as an obsessive collector - started off accessing adult pornography before looking at ever more extreme child porn.



Officers who executed a warrant at his home in March last year seized a computer tower, videos, thumb drives and more than 700 CDs.



A large amount of paperwork was also found which made reference to child porn websites, and he was found to be sharing more than 33,000 files with other users.



Analysis of the tower revealed chat conversations in which Hough requested the most explicit child pornography.



Other users also asked him for extreme pictures and videos and Hough provided access to the thousands of files he had.



Of the 53,000 indecent images found - ranging from level 1 to the most serious, level 5 - almost 47,000 were held in folders he shared with others.



Due to the depravity in some of the images, officers investigating the case were given only limited viewing time because of concerns over their welfare.



The court heard that his child porn collection was one of the largest Sussex Police has ever dealt with.



Hough pleaded guilty to possessing indecent images of children, possessing with intent to distribute indecent images and three counts of voyeurism after he filmed women known to him in the bathroom.



Jailing him for seven years and nine months, Judge Anthony Scott-Gall said: "Where there is a market, young children need to be abused to provide fresh material for the delectation of people like yourself.



"It is an ever increasing circle of images of young people who, after they have been filmed, are sent out into the public domain."



Outside court, Detective Constable Chris Smith, from Sussex Police, said Hough was well-known in his community as he was involved with a youth organisation, but stressed there were no links between his work there and his offences.



Mr Smith said: "This is one of the most disturbing cases the team has ever worked on, dealing with literally thousands of images and videos depicting the most serious levels of child abuse.



"The sentence today recognises the depravity of them and Hough will now be spending many years behind bars.



"Hough admitted what he was doing as soon as he was arrested. However, no sooner had he been released on bail whilst analysis was carried out on his computer, then he went out and bought a new laptop to continue to feed his addiction."



He added: "Although there is no suggestion that Hough had direct contact with any of the children depicted in these vile photographs and videos, each and every one of them is a victim who has been subjected to the most horrific sexual abuse in order to feed the habit of people like Hough."



Judge Scott-Gall ordered that Hough be added to the sex offenders register for the rest of his life.

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