A member of a dark web chatroom used by paedophiles complained lockdown prevented him from looking at schoolchildren on his way to work.
Phillip Nutt, 53, moaned on ‘PedoPub’ that working from home as a result of COVID restrictions stopped his walks past schools and hindered his access to kids.
The former Ministry of Defence worker used his IT skills to find, download and hide child abuse images picked up on the dark web, including rape and torture videos of babies.
At Bristol Crown Court Thursday, Nutt was jailed for 16 months after pleading guilty to possessing, making and distributing indecent images at an earlier hearing.
In one chat with another ‘PedoPub’ user, Nutt described how he gained children's trust and concealed the disturbing content he accessed.
He said: “I have everything secured and no one can see unless I leave it unlocked by accident.
“I have a false camera storage as well so if someone asks to see my photos it shows normal people photos. The good ones are hidden.”
In another chatroom conversation, Nutt discussed his frustration with the lack of access to children during lockdown.
He wrote: “I usually walk past a school on the way to work and I can’t even do that!”
Nutt added: “I am of the view that you have to be so careful and disguise your true self….Any little ones around me I treat as friends and gain their confidence.”
When police raided his home in Horfield, Bristol, officers found nearly 300 indecent images and videos on his phone and computers.
Cops also discovered cloud-based accounts overseas that hosted 18,641 files across 445 folders, where Nutt allowed videos to be accessed by other paedophiles.
One folder labelled ‘Incest’ contained hundreds of indecent videos of children, some in the most serious category, police said.
Digital forensic analysis found Nutt regularly went onto the dark web and had a secure image storage facility on his phone disguised as a calculator.
He was careful to hide his tracks and described having ‘a scare’ when pictures accidentally transferred on to his main hard drive, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.
NCA officers arrested Nutt at a holiday home in Cornwall last year.
Derek Evans, NCA senior investigating officer, said Nutt used sophisticated methods to hide his crimes.
He added: “The conviction of Nutt serves as a warning to all - that we will work with partners across the globe to safeguard children and bring offenders before the court.”