A man who downloaded hundreds of photographs and videos of young girls being sexually abused claimed he was working as a vigilante to expose paedophiles, Lincoln Crown Court was told.
Matthew Pointon downloaded images of girls as young as five years old being abused and went on to pass on some of the photographs to other men using the Kik messaging app.
Phil Howes, prosecuting, said that Pointon’s use of the internet led to him receiving a warning from his internet service provider that his activities were illegal and he could face jail but he continued to look at the illegal images until police raided his home at Whaplode St Catherines on November 15 last year.
The prosecutor said that over a six month period Pointon downloaded 979 pornographic photographs of children and 233 video clips featuring more than seven hours of children being sexually abused.
Mr Howes said: “These offences arose because the police had information that led them to the home address of the defendant.
“A number of items were seized. The only significant item on which there was found indecent images was a Samsung mobile phone.
“Investigations showed that he had been using the platform Kik to distribute images to four different people.
“When he was interviewed he was at pains to give an explanation as to why he was doing this.
“He suggested he was some sort of vigilante who was seeking to entrap paedophiles and pass the information onto the police. He said he did it anonymously.”
Mr Howes said that the police investigation revealed Pointon had chatted over the internet with the people he was sending the illicit images. During those conversations he revealed an interest in young girls.
The prosecutor said there was no record of Pointon contacting the authorities with information and added: “The police regard it as fanciful when he said he didn’t have these images for sexual gratification.”
Pointon, 43, currently of no fixed address, but formerly of Cranesgate North, Whaplode St Catherines, admitted three charges of making a total of 1,212 indecent images of children on dates between March 31 and October 17, 2016.
He also admitted four charges of distributing indecent images of children, one charge of possession of prohibited images of children and a further charge of possession of extreme pornography.
He was jailed for a total of three years and given an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.
Judge John Pini QC, passing sentence, told him: “For every image, whether it is a still photograph or a video, that you have viewed and for every image that you have shared, somewhere in the world a very young child has been seriously sexually abused. These are real children who have had their lives destroyed.
“Your internet service provider issued a warning notice to you about what you were doing. That warning spelled out the consequences. You full well knew the consequences of what you were doing.
“I accept you have reached rock bottom but you have done so entirely at your own hands.
“The probation report says you are in complete denial. You put forward an account of reviling paedophiles and informing the police. I don’t accept any of that.
“This has to be an immediate custodial sentence. The court has to make it clear that those who view and distribute images like this will go to prison.”
Neil Sands, in mitigation, told the court: “He has conceded he will go to custody.
“It is a very substantial fall for a man with no previous convictions.
“The word foolish does not even begin to describe what he embarked upon.
“He is in denial. He simply cannot come to terms as to how he has done this.
“He has lost his job. He does not have a marriage any more and he has lost his home.
“He has put himself into the category of people he clearly reviles.
“Prison is going to have a substantial impact on him.”