Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Face Him Ex-Fireman Admits to Having Child Abuse Images; 39-Year-Old Hides His Face after Banned Twitter Account Led Police to Him

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Face Him Ex-Fireman Admits to Having Child Abuse Images; 39-Year-Old Hides His Face after Banned Twitter Account Led Police to Him

Article excerpt

Byline: GARETH LIGHTFOOT gareth.lightfoot@trinitymirror.com @GazetteCourt

A FORMER fireman tried to blame colleagues for his stash of child abuse images after a banned Twitter account led police to his door.

Paul Hallett's perverted activities came to light because of an explicitly titled social media account he ran.

"That account had some 50,000 images," prosecutor Jenny Haigh told Teesside Crown Court.

She said the account was shut down "because of the nature of those images", the police were called, and the National Crime Agency became involved.

Hallett, 39, was arrested as his home was searched and devices seized including a laptop containing 277 indecent images of children.

The disturbing pictures and videos showed "a large number of different victims", the vast majority of children aged 13 to 16, with 43 images in the most serious category.

Some were discovered in a private, encrypted area of the computer which used a "decoy password" and took pictures of those trying to access it, the court heard yesterday.

Some were backed up from an iPad that was never found.

When he was caught, Hallett denied responsibility for downloading the illegal images, saying he did not know how they had appeared on his computer.

You have an interest, sexual inchildren needs addressed.

And he appeared to try to blame others, the court was told.

The Ms Haigh added: "He did seem to blame the colleagues he worked with. He maintained that to the date of trial. He has now conceded that he was the person responsible."

On the day of trial Hallett, of no fixed address, finally pleaded guilty to three charges of making indecent images of children in Middlesbrough between November 2012 and February 2014.

He was not charged with any distribution of indecent images. He had a previous caution for a sexual offence involving a 15-year-old girl when he was 18. …

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