A 27-YEAR-OLD Cirencester man who downloaded indecent videos of children using the dark web has been sentenced.

Matthew Woodward, of Woodhouse Close, Cirencester, pleaded guilty to making 127 indecent photographs of children at categories A, B and C.

Gloucester Crown Court sitting in Cirencester was told how Instagram contacted Gloucestershire police on October 13 last year over concerns about an attempt to upload an indecent video of a child. 

Prosecutor Charlotte Evans explained how the IP address was traced to Woodward, whose home was searched on March 6.

Woodward was arrested and a USB stick, laptop and external hard drive were seized.

The USB stick contained the offending videos while software was found on various devices which is used to preserve online anonymity, the court heard.

The USB stick had 43 category A indecent videos of children, the most serious, four videos in category B and 80 at category C. 

Ms Evans said: “The total running time for all the videos ran to three hours and 26 minutes, with the longest being in category A that lasted for seven minutes and 55 seconds.

“In light of this investigation Woodward was rearrested and interviewed but gave a no comment.

“Woodward’s offending is more serious because of the age and vulnerability of the children in the video and that he used specialist software to aid his anonymity on the internet.”

Catherine Spedding, defending at the hearing on Wednesday, November 29, said: “At the time of these offences Woodward was living alone and was on benefits.

"He was feeling isolated and very low and had become depressed.

“Woodward states he didn’t like what he was doing and had wanted to get help but he didn’t feel he could go to anybody official for help because he felt that he did his activity would be discovered.

“The amount of videos in my respect was relatively quite small in comparison with the numbers this court sees in other cases.” 

Woodward was sentenced to a 10-month prison term suspended for two years.

He was also given 40 programme days and 25 rehabilitation days and must complete 150 hours of unpaid work and pay a £187 surcharge.

A 10-year sexual harm prevention order prevents him from being in the presence of unaccompanied children and limiting his internet use.

He was also placed on the sex offender register.