A barman who made 45,651 child abuse images has been sentenced to nine months in jail suspended for 18 months, after a National Crime Agency investigation.

Ethan Demitri ChapmanNCA officers arrested Ethan Chapman, 20, of Darlington, in August 2018 as a result of an investigation on the dark web.

His smartphone and laptop were seized and Chapman was bailed while the devices were forensically examined.

NCA investigators found 45,651 deleted child abuse images – 36,186 at the worst category A level.

Chapman’s laptop showed he had used the dark web and various anonymisation techniques to hide his true identity.

He answered no questions when interviewed by officers.

In January he admitted three counts of making indecent images of children – 36,186 category A, 8,831 category B and 634 category C.

Today, at Teeside Crown Court he was also put on the sex offenders register for five years and given a five-year sexual harm prevention order.

NCA operations manager Graham Ellis said: “Every child in an abuse image is revictimised when the photograph is viewed or shared.    

“Chapman’s use of the dark web shows a degree of sophistication and a determination to avoid law enforcement detection.

“Dark web child sex offenders – some of whom are the very worst offenders – cannot hide from law enforcement.”

The NCA and UK police arrest around 500 child sex offenders a month and safeguard about 700 children a month.

Child Protection Charity The Lucy Faithfull Foundation runs the Stop It Now! helpline which offers confidential advice to anyone concerned about their own or someone else’s behaviour towards children.

If you are concerned a crime has been committed against a child contact your local police. For advice on child safety visit Thinkuknow.co.uk.

16 March 2020