A trainee teacher was jailed for three-and-a-half years after a pupil at his school found his computer memory stick had been used to hoard part of his vast child porn collection.
The 14-year-old boy picked up the memory stick after finding it at his secondary school, where 24-year-old Kai Ho Fan worked as an assistant maths teacher.
After taking it home, the pupil plugged it into his laptop and came across an eight-year-old girl being indecently assaulted by a man, Lewes Crown Court heard.
Out of curiosity the boy accessed further material on the memory stick and found a file featuring Fan having sex. The boy recognised him from school and alerted his mother before police were called.
Annabel Maxwell-Scott, prosecuting, said: “The 14-year-old felt sick and as curiosity got the better of him he looked into a further folder called PSP Cheats, which he thought related to PlayStations.
“He put on a video and saw two people having sex in that clip and at that stage he recognised the male having sex was a teacher at his school. He then told his mother and the police were alerted.”
After two laptops, hard-drives and discs were seized from Fan, detectives found 2,165 indecent still pictures and videos featuring children aged from two to around 12.
Ms Maxwell-Scott said these included 97 at level five and one said to be classed at extreme level five which showed what police believe was a genuine rape.
She said that some films started off as normal movies, including a Lord Of The Rings film, before child porn images began after about 10 seconds.
Ms Maxwell-Scott said there was added concern as his collection showed he pursued an interest in porn featuring older children at the same time as he began working with older children at the school.
The court heard that Fan, who had no previous convictions, was a computer expert who had set up a “sophisticated” library system to enable him quicker access to the vile images.
Fan, of Hollingdean Road, Brighton, East Sussex, pleaded guilty to distributing nine indecent images and admitted 21 specimen charges of making indecent movies.
Jeffrey Lamb, defending, said Fan’s interest in child porn was borne out of “idle curiosity”.
He said: “Over time it became a compulsion, a morbid compulsion but there was no logic to it in the sense that he wasn’t going out there looking for specific images. He was just downloading lots and lots of images.”
Mr Lamb said Fan was “extremely remorseful and contrite” and had said after being arrested: “In a strange way, being caught was kind of a relief.”
“He acknowledges that he has a problem – even the word sick was used by him in the (pre-sentence) report. He needs help and he wants help.” Mr Lamb added Fan’s decision to enter teaching was not to gain access to children and act out some of the scenes depicted in the pictures and movies he downloaded.
In court were Fan’s parents and his girlfriend, Catherine Taylor, who vowed to stand by him and help him seek help after he is released from prison.
Jailing him, Judge Anthony Scott-Gall said Fan had become “tragically obsessed” with viewing the material.
He said: “The prevalence of child porn over the internet increases almost on a daily basis and as it increases so does the depravity reflected.”
“People like you add to the ever-widening circle of disgusting material that corrupts.” Fan was banned from working with children for life and will be added to the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely.