A WORKINGTON sex offender spent a month in jail for flouting a court order which a judge suggested should never have been imposed for an indefinite period.

Ian Snodden, 59, was made the subject of the indefinite sexual offences prevention order (SOPO) in 2015 when he was sentenced for downloading indecent images of children and possessing extreme pornography.

Had he been sentenced for those offences today, his SOPO would have been for the same period as Sex Offender Registration, pegged at five years, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

Snodden, of Meadow Vale, Seaton, Workington, admitted three offences: two counts of failing to comply with his SOPO and failing to comply with registration requirement, required because of the SOPO's continuation.

Police discovered his offending after Snodden attempted to take his own life, taking an overdose, the court heard.

The first court order breach involved him refusing when asked to give police the password for his Chromebook computer.

Despite having recently accessed the device, Snodden claimed that he could no longer remember his password. This happened on March 30 after the defendant was treated at hospital for the overdose.

Police officers who examined his mobile phone also noticed that he had installed an application for accessing an online discussion forum, which is forbidden under the terms of his SOPO.

The final breach was Snodden’s failure to disclose a username he had for a website specialising in erotic fiction.

Jeff Smith, defending, said that the defendant had spoken of immediately seeking help for his mental health when he is released from prison. Incarcerated there for up to 23 hours per day, he was given no assistance.

Judge Nicholas Barker told Snodden, who wept through some of the hearing as he appeared before the court via a video link: “In 2015, you were sentenced for making indecent images and possessing extreme pornography.

“You were given a community order and made subject to five years [Sex Offender] notification; and you were also made the subject of an indefinite sexual offences prevention order.”

Current law requires such a sentence today to make the period of registration and the SOPO to run in parallel, observed the judge.

Judge Barker noted that Snodden, who had spent a little over four weeks in custody, had complied with his  SOPO for nine years and there was no suggestion that he had accessed any improper material online.

The judge imposed an 18-month community order with 15 rehabilitation activity days.

“I suggest that you take legal advice to address the question of the duration of your SOPO,” added the judge.