A FORMER Cockermouth man who was part of a 'network' of individuals sharing sickening child abuse images has been jailed.

A judge at Carlisle Crown Court told 30-year-old Shane Musgrave that the illegal images he stored on his smartphone – including a video of a three-year-old being abused – were “disgusting”.

The defendant admitted three counts of possessing indecent images of children, one of possessing an extreme pornographic image, and one allegation of distributing child abuse images.

The court heard how an investigation revealed the defendant had the images on his Samsung smartphone between September, 2017, and December of 2020.

Police who examined the device found 47 child abuse images deemed to be Category A, the most serious class of abuse image.

Prosecutor Anthony Parkinson said of some of the messages that police found on the defendant's phone: “There are seven or eight conversations the defendant was involved in. They were with what can be described as ‘like-minded’ people...

"The defendant is the one taking the lead.”

Sean Harkin, defending, said that Musgrave, of Station Road, Workington, but formerly of Pinfold Close, Cockermouth, accepted responsibility for the offences.

“He expresses remorse and shows some insight in terms of the harm that results from this type of offending,” said Mr Harkin.

Musgrave had voluntarily taken steps to address the reasons for his offending, said the lawyer. This included seeing his GP and being prescribed anti-depressants.

He had also contacted two groups which work with those involved in or at risk of viewing child abuse images - Stop It Now and Prevent. "He's done everything he can to address his offending behaviour," said Mr Harkin.

"He wants to move back into the world of paid work.

"He is someone who has lost everything as a result of this offending: he has lost his family life and lost his job but he is motivated to rebuild his life going forward."

Recorder Eric Lamb told Musgrave that the most serious of his offences was distributing those abuse images. 

Noting the period of time over which the defendant had the 'disgusting'  images on his phone, the Recorder told Musgrave: “I do conclude on the evidence before the court that you were part of a network who were involved in distribution.” 

The judge said that the gravity of the offending meant that the sentence had to be one of immediate custody.

He jailed Musgrave for 20 months, put him on the Sex Offenders’ Register for a decade and made a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for the same period. The defendant will be released from jail on licence after he has served half the 20 months.