AN Ellesmere Port man used software preventing his internet history being recorded – as he didn't want police to find out how much pornography he was viewing.

John Richard Sutherland, 68, of Charter Crescent, Great Sutton, used the DuckDuckGo software, which was in breach of his five-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order, which at the time of the offence had less than six months to run.

Appearing at Chester Magistrates Court on Monday, January 11, Sutherland – who had earlier pleaded guilty to breaching the SHPO – was placed on a new two-year SHPO and handed a 12-month communtiy order.

Prosecuting, Jonathon Wilkinson said Sutherland was made the subject of the original SHPO in March 2016 for charges of indecent images and voyeurism.

But in October 2020, Sutherland was found to have used the DuckDuckGo software to view the internet which deleted his internet history – meaning police could not monitor his activity.

When interviewed, Sutherland said he "did not want [officers] to see how much pornography I was looking at".

Defending, Becky Hay said Sutherland had been very clear with the authorities when questioned and had offered the information to the police before any of his devices were examined.

He had described his own behaviour as "stupid" and it was simply to hide that he was downloading pornography.

Sutherland had found the previous community order very "extremely helpful" in being able to talk through any issues he had, but admitted he had become a little lackadaisical recently.

He had also written a letter of apology to the court, in which he thanked his support officer and said he was very sorry for his actions.

Chair of magistrates Andrew Merrill said: "We are concerned that you only had six months left [on your SHPO] before getting involved in this stupid behaviour.

"This is your first breach and we don't think it has crossed the custody threshold."

Sutherland was handed a 12-month community order, to include 20 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement.

He was placed on a new two-year SHPO and must abide by a 7pm-7am curfew for three months.

He must also pay costs totalling £180.