A REGISTERED Carlisle sex offender is back behind bars for breaching a court order — by showing a new girlfriend old family photographs.

Paul Ellis, now aged 41, was originally sentenced at the city’s crown court in April, 2016, having been caught in a police sting.

Ellis had sent vile online images of himself to what he thought was a 13-year-old girl — later learning he had been in contact with an undercover officer. He had asked the “girl” to keep their chat “our little secret”.

When brought to court he admitted attempting to cause a child to look at an image of sexual activity.

Ellis, of Myddleton Street, Carlisle, was handed a three-year community order as punishment. He was also made subject to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) containing conditions to restrict his online activities in a bid to prevent him reoffending.

In 2022, Ellis was brought back to court and given a 28-month jail term for multiple breaches of that SHPO. He was released from custody in May last year. But while on licence he flouted the order again.

Prosecutor Gerard Rogerson told the crown court today (tues) that a forensic monitoring service had detected suspicious online activity by Ellis. This was brought to the attention of Ellis’s police offender manager, who paid him a visit on January 24 this year.

Ellis was found to have used a cloud-based online data storage facility — in clear breach of one strict SHPO prohibition.

“He was interviewed about the breach,” said Mr Rogerson. “He began by telling the officer he was aware of the SHPO. He was aware of the schedule of prohibitions. He confirmed the terms had been explained to him on an earlier occasion. He was asked if he understood the order. He said ‘yes’.

“He confirmed he had used the Google cloud storage system on his Toshiba computer.”

Mr Rogerson added: “He said he was using it to show his new girlfriend, who was visiting him at the time, some old photographs of his family.”

Then, said the prosecutor, seemingly at odds with earlier comments, Ellis said he didn’t think that action would place him in breach of the SHPO.

“He insisted he had not looked at any indecent images. There is no evidence to suggest that he did,” stressed Mr Rogerson.

Ellis pleaded guilty to breaching the SHPO. But defence barrister, Jane Foley, said he maintained that he did not think he had been flouting the order at the time.

“He is apologetic. He is sorry he is taking up the court’s time today,” she told the court. “He is realistic about his position.”

Ellis was given an immediate six-month prison sentence by Judge Nicholas Barker. “This is now the second set of offences for breaching your SHPO, which makes it more serious. You were also on (prison) licence at the time,” Judge Barker told him.