Barry Harkcom, 56 and of Library Road in Poole, pleaded guilty at Bournemouth Magistrates court on 11 November 2016 to three counts of making indecent images of children and one count of possession of extreme pornography.
A Newton Hearing to establish the factual basis on which he would be sentenced was held on 1 August at Bournemouth Crown Court.
He was handed a two-year and one month jail term at the same court on 2 August.
On 14 April 2016 officers from Dorset Police’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT) executed a warrant at an address Harkcom was staying at in Wimborne.
When officers entered his bedroom, Harkcom was asleep. When he woke he was told not to touch his laptop. Within seconds Harkcom lunged toward it and attempted to turn it off, but was stopped by one of the officers.
He claimed he was just trying to show them he was watching a television sitcom, but later admitted that if he had switched off the computer officers would never have been able to access it.
His encrypted devices were examined by specialist officers, who discovered 5,500 GB of data containing around 1.9 million images and videos. More than 70,000 indecent images and videos of children were found, including 68,957 category C, 1,663 category B and 1,281 category A – with category A being the most serious. Two extreme movies were also located.
During the Newton Hearing, Harkcom claimed he had no interest in child pornography and that he was a hoarder and would collect thousands of different images and videos of all kinds of subjects. However, police forensic examiners found that he had been looking at images of child abuse just days before his arrest. Harkcom could offer no explanation as to the argument put forward by the officers.
Detective Sergeant Sue Bellamy, of POLIT, said: “We received intelligence that Barry Harkcom had downloaded thousands of indecent images. This was an incredibly lengthy investigation due to the sheer amount of material that Harkcom had stored on his devices and we uncovered a truly alarming amount of images and videos of child abuse.
“I hope this case will serve as a warning to anyone involved in downloading or producing indecent images of children. Dorset Police will proactively track you down, we will arrest you and you will be brought to justice.
“Safeguarding children from serious harm is a priority for Dorset Police and we would urge anyone with information about offences involving children to contact us.”
The Paedophile Online Investigation Team can be contacted on 101. In an emergency always dial 999. Alternatively, call the free and anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111 where mobile phone tariffs may apply.
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