‘High risk’ child sex offender hid computer during police checks

Neil Marston

Neil Marston who has been jailed for child images and breaching a sexual harm prevention order. - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

A convicted sex offender who repeatedly hid his computer during police checks has been jailed over indecent images of children.

Neil Marston, 51, admitted breaching a life-long sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) imposed after he was convicted of possessing similar images of children in 2018.

Norwich Crown Court heard officers who visited his home on April 14 this year discovered him attempting to hide a Lynx tablet computer behind a wardrobe. 

It was subsequently found to contain more than 100 indecent images of children and two videos of sexual content involving children.

In interviews Marston, of Quarry Lane in Lyng, admitted he had hidden the device on previous visits by officers carrying out inspections under the order.

He claimed the images were not illegal and were “just erotic”.

Marston, a carpenter, appeared at court to be sentenced on Tuesday having previously pleaded guilty to possessing indecent images of a child and two counts of making indecent photos of a child.

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Lori Tucker, defending, said the offences had been committed without a “consideration of the consequences” but that Marston now accepted that indecent images of children caused “real world harm”. 

“These offences were committed 20 months ago and in the meantime there has been no suggestion of further reoffending,” she added. 

But the court heard that a pre-sentence report had concluded there was a “high risk” of Marston committing further offences involving indecent images of children and that he also posed a danger to children in person.  

Jailing him for 15 months, including three months from the suspended prison term imposed in 2018, Judge Katharine Moore said he was a “dishonest man willing to deceive and lie to authority”. 

She said: “It’s perfectly clear, despite everything that you have said, that you have a sexual attraction to children that is longstanding and enduring. 

“When this is taken together with your deceitful ways it mitigates against community intervention.

“What is particularly concerning is that you are someone who, on the face of it, is likely to attend and engage but in reality you are practicing deceit and carrying on regardless and repeated prosecution has proved to be no deterrent to you.”

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