An Ellesmere Port paedophile who continued to download indecent images of children while on police bail has been jailed.

Mark Donaghey, 58, of Elaine Close, Great Sutton, pleaded guilty to two sets of downloading and possessing indecent images, which Chester Crown Court heard included children as young as 18 months.

Appearing at the court, sitting at Chester Magistrates Court, for sentencing on Tuesday, March 13, Donaghey received an extended prison sentence as Judge Patrick Thompson said he posed a "very high risk" to members of the public, particularly children.

Prosecuting, Nadeem Nemat said Donaghey had originally been arrested in February 2023 on suspicion of downloading indecent images, putting him in breach of his Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO). He gave a 'no comment' police interview and was bailed.

While on bail, Donaghey continued to acquire indecent images and was rearrested and charged.

The court heard it was accepted there was some time overlap between the two sets of indecent images cases, and they had been obtained between March 2018 and October 2023.

Computers and laptops were seized, and among them were several hard drives.

Analysis of the devices after the first arrest showed 944 indecent images of children assessed as the most serious category, category A, plus six category A videos. There were also 840 category B images and 4,907 category C images, as well as 142 prohibited images of a child. One category B image was of an 18-month-old child.

There was also evidence Donaghey had used internet search terms to seek the indecent images online.

Analysis of a second set of devices after Donaghey was rearrested showed 583 indecent images and 22 videos assessed as category A, 459 images assessed as category B, plus 914 images and two videos assessed as category C. There were also eight prohibited images of children.

Donaghey had previously been jailed for 18 months in 2002 for attempted gross indecency with a child. In 2005, he was handed an extended sentence of five years plus five years for engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child aged 13 or under, as well as outraging public decency.

A report from probation said Donaghey was a "very high risk" of serious sexual harm.

Defending, Peter Barnett said the best mitigation that could be put forward for Donaghey were his prompt guilty pleas, for which he was entitled to full credit from his sentence.

The defendant showed "self-inflicted destruction" with his behaviour.

Judge Thompson told the defendant: "It is clear to me you have a very unhealthy sexual interest in children."

Donaghey was sentenced to three years in prison – for which he must serve at least two-thirds before being eligible for parole – plus two years extended licence.

He was handed a new life-long SHPO and he was deprived of all the seized devices.