A paedophile caught with child rape photos says he's trying to change by learning the guitar and listening to podcasts.

John Hamilton was jailed for two years in 2011 for possessing, downloading and distributing indecent images of children.

The then 27-year-old, from Widnes, was told to sign on the Sex Offenders Register and hit with a 10-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).

That prevented him possessing a photo of any child under 16, unless they were a family member and he had the permission of their parent or guardian.

But when Hamilton rang police to tell them he had a new mobile phone in November 2019, officers discovered 1,205 photos of children on his old device.

And the pervert - now living in Liverpool's historic Gambier Terrance in the Georgian Quarter - confessed to downloading thousands of sickening files.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Hamilton, now 37, contacted officers on November 22, 2019 to say he had a new mobile and provide its IMEI number to the force.

Kenneth Grant, prosecuting, said he was visited by his offender manager and handed over the phone, which was satisfactory, but was then asked to produce his old one.

This Honor 6 device revealed two photos and a video of young girls aged around six, which Hamilton said he had received on WhatsApp, so the phone was seized.

It was found to contain 515 indecent images of children, a further 690 non-indecent images of children under 16, and also had a VPN attached to it.

Mr Grant said a VPN could be used to ensure greater anonymity on the internet and also assists in concealing a user's IP address and location.

The court heard there were 243 Category A files - the most serious category showing child rape - plus 243 Category B and 184 Category C files created between October 2017 and May 2019, which were all said to be photos.

The Category A photos including one of the rape of a girl aged between two and four, and another showing the rape of two boys, aged between two and three.

Judge Thomas Teague, QC, said there was also a "very disturbing" Category B photo of a boy aged between 12 and 18 months.

Mr Grant said Hamilton gave two interviews when he "denied any significant wrongdoing", before he contacted the police and asked to be interviewed again.

In his third interview he said he wanted to "admit everything" before he confessed that "over the years he had viewed thousands" of Category A images.

He admitted downloading thousands of the files between 2016 and 2019 and accepted he knew he was breaching his order, but said he never took the photos himself.

Mr Grant said: "He stated that he looked at images out of boredom. He stated he was attracted to children but he would never hurt a child and he did not want to have sex with a child."

Hamilton admitted breaching his SOPO and one count of possessing and three counts of downloading indecent images of children.

David Woods, defending, said Hamilton didn't seek to minimise his crimes, pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and had shown insight into the harm his offending caused.

He said his client had voluntarily taken a course with child sex abuse prevention charity The Lucy Faithfull Foundation and used the last two years "constructively" because "he takes the view quite rightly in my submission that if he's bored, without guidance, self control or he becomes idle, he's tempted to behave in the way that he has".

Mr Woods added: "First of all he has established a routine he has been playing competitive darts, he's been learning the guitar, he's been doing electronic games, reading, going out running, all sorts of normal, wholesome activities which fills in his day."

John Charles Hamilton, then 27, of Ditton, Widnes, when he was jailed for two years for 17 offences involving indecent images of children
John Charles Hamilton, then 27, of Ditton, Widnes, when he was jailed for two years for 17 offences involving indecent images of children

The lawyer said "unfortunately" Hamilton had been unable to gain a job since his last conviction and therefore had difficulty filling his time, but he was also listening to podcasts about stress and other issues, and talking to his older brother each day, who wasn't very comfortable with the subject matter or position, and wasn't a qualified counsellor, but was trying to help him.

Mr Woods said: "He's acutely aware he's brought embarrassment and distress to his parents and other wider members of his family."

He added that Hamilton's mum had heart problems and said his client "couldn't help but feel guilty" and wonder whether her health had been affected by his conviction.

The lawyer urged the judge to spare him jail, so he could be rehabilitated in the community.

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Judge Teague accepted Hamilton had "come clean" over how many images he downloaded and was "candid" with the police.

However, he said the case was aggravated by the "age and vulnerability of some of the children" in the photos and his previous conviction.

He said: "I have to tell you straight away that in my judgement appropriate punishment in your case can only be achieved by immediate custody.

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"I have to say that, having regard to the repugnant nature of the images, about which the court has heard, which are exceptionally depraved even by the standards, the appallingly low standards of this kind of case anyway."

Judge Teague said if Hamilton had possessed videos of the nature the court had heard about "you would be facing an even longer sentence" as he jailed him for 18 months.

The judge also made a new 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and told him to sign on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.

Stories from Liverpool Crown Court

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