A man from Wrexham has been jailed after a court heard how he downloaded the most appalling images of child sex abuse available.

The images were described as “absolutely awful” and “shocking” at Mold Crown Court.

It was feared that defendant Stephen Anthony Harris, 41, was unlikely to ever change.

Some of the images and movies involved the rape of toddlers as young as three who had been bound with tape.

Harris, of Market Street in Rhos, had previous convictions for downloading images.

Judge Rhys Rowlands jailed him for three years and ordered him to register with the police as a sex offender indefinitely.

He was also made the subject of a new Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Judge Rowlands told Harris that in August 2015 he was made the subject of a three-year community order for making and possessing indecent images of children, but he was now back before the court after he committed similar offences in breach of the order.

He had other previous convictions and had admitted breaching the requirements of his sexual registration on the day before he appeared in the magistrates court after he used an internet identification which was not registered with the police.

The court heard how officers went to his home on May 24 and found a USB storage stick which contained a significant number of indecent movies and images.

“They had been downloaded and stored by you so you could return to them time and again, to satisfy your wholly un-natural sexual interest in young children,” said Judge Rowlands.

Police found 168 category A movies and 76 category A images, the nature of which were described as “quite shocking”.

They involved a number of young victims being raped.

Other images and movies were also discovered.

Then while on bail, the day before he attended Wrexham Magistrates Court to answer the charges, he accessed the internet in breach of the terms of the sexual offences registration.

He contacted someone using a user name which had not been registered with the police.

Harris was seeking to contact people without being identified which could only be “for a sinister reason”, said the judge.

Judge Rowlands described the offences as “serious and very disturbing” made the more so by his previous convictions.

He had been given chances to addressed his “depraved behaviour” but he continued despite courses to help him stop.

“The very young are being exploited by others so that the likes of yourself can view their torment and get satisfaction from it,” he declared.

Judge Rowlands said he accepted that, while Harris continued to offend, there had been no escalation.

Harris admitted making category A, B and C movies and images and possessing a total of 636 images.

Barrister Karl Scholz, prosecuting, said police received information that Harris had been downloading images and went to his home in May where they were recovered on a storage stick.

They showed boys and girls as young as three being penetrated and being subjects to various sexual acts.

It was also found he was using aliases on Facebook and other sites.

The prosecutor said it was quite clear from the assessment in the pre-sentence report that Harris was “unlikely to ever change”.

Harris had similar previous convictions in 2007, 2011 and 2015 and it was clear he was still deliberately searching for such images.

Barrister Gemma Gordon, defending, said her client was fully aware he would receive an immediate custodial sentence and that his previous convictions aggravated his situation.

The probation service considered the best way to manage him going forward was to send him into custody.

While his offending was clearly very serious there had been no escalation and she stressed that it was downloading as opposed to any active engagement with children. A determinate sentence was appropriate, she said.

The breach of his register had been a stupid thing to do and he wished to apologise that he had relapsed into offending.

He had been due to attend further courses but now appreciated that would be no longer possible and that he would go into custody.