Houghton Teenager avoids prison after being found guilty of possessing 120,000 child abuse images

A Houghton le Spring teenager has avoided prison after being found guilty of possessing over 120,000 child abuse images and videos, when he was still a minor himself.

Mark Collinson was aged between 15 and 17 when he began downloading the material. While he said he was looking for images of those around his age, he was found with material which also featured babies and some sado-masochism.

Newcastle Crown Court heard it was in March 2021 that police went to his home and seized his devices. He was found to have more than 120,000 images and 4,000 videos, but only a fraction of them were looked at by police and categorised – including more than 100 of the worst, category A pictures and videos, more than 300 in category B and more than 1,000 in category C.

The court heard there were “depictions of babies” and some of the children in the images were blindfolded and tied up.

Collinson, now 19, of Oak Avenue, Houghton-le-Spring, pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images and was sentenced to nine months suspended for two years with rehabilitation. He must also sign the sex offenders register and be subject to a sexual harm prevention order for ten years.

Annalisa Moscardini, defending, said: “He was looking for people close to his own age but I understand there are images of people that are younger. He has worked hard to try to think about what was going on at the time.

“He is an isolated person and he struggles with anxiety and friendships.”