A “HIGHLY educated” man who put himself through PhD studies flouted a strict court order by installing software on a laptop which had the capacity to erase online browsing history.

Colin Storr, now aged 63, was sentenced by a Carlisle Crown Court judge in 2014 after he admitted more than dozen criminal charges. Storr had downloaded hundreds of illegal images showing the sexual abuse of children — some as young as three.

Storr was made subject to a three-year community order designed at rehabilitating him. He was also told to comply with the strict terms of a sexual offences prevention order for 10 years.

But with less than a year of that order to run, Storr found himself back in trouble for breaching one of the conditions.

“The police attended his address in Ennerdale on August 2 and asked him to retrieve any equipment that would be potentially of interest,” Brendan Burke, prosecuting, told Carlisle Crown Court.

“Whilst officers were booting up laptops there was a conversation in general terms asking if there was anything there that shouldn’t be. He volunteered that he had installed software capable of removing browser history. It turned out that was quite right.”

Storr admitted one breach of the order having used software that was capable of disguising or eliminating any data.

Marion Weir, defending, said no actual material had been recovered which would trouble the police or court.

Storr had merely used the software to organise his computer system and, said Ms Weir, had formed the view, erroneously, that because he did not use the deletion function, he wasn’t doing anything wrong.

“He is a man who deals with his life in an organised and structured way,” said Ms Weir, who outlined difficulties faced by the defendant. “He is a complex individual.

“He left mainstream education with no qualifications. Since then he has put himself through O-levels, A-levels and a PhD, and comes before the court as a highly educated man.”

Ms Weir added of his online use: “He accepts he has to get it right and accepts if there is anything to be put on a laptop or device he has to check that with police.”

Judge Nicholas Barker suspended a nine-month jail term for two years and ordered Storr, of Ehen Garth, Ennerdale, to undergo rehabilitation.

“You are a bright and intelligent person who, through the difficulties you have, have managed to managed to advance your own education significantly,” said the judge.

“Therefore you know what your responsibilities are when it comes to this order and have done, may I say, for the last nine years because you haven’t, in any real way, breached it.”

Storr remains subject to the SOPO until May next year.