A “depraved” paedophile who fled the UK after being caught with over 100,000 sick images of children has been jailed after a year on the run.
David Swift, aged 54, was spotted in Starbucks on Colmore Row, Birmingham, looking at indecent images on a laptop in October last year.
Concerned customers called police and, after efforts to escape, Swift was arrested and charged.
After admitting six counts of possession and six counts of distributing indecent images of children, Swift, of Phillip Sydney Road, Sparkhill, fled the UK, firstly to Germany to visit his grown up son, and then to Ireland.
It was there he was eventually arrested in November and returned to the UK to face justice.
During his time on the run he was listed as one of West Midlands Police’s most wanted criminals.
Appearing via video link at Birmkngham Crown Court he was finally sentenced to four years and eight months behind bars with an extended five year licence period on Thursday (December 17).
Patrick Sullivan prosecuting, said Swift had amassed a library of sick images some of which he had shared with others on the internet.
He told the court; “Customers were at Starbucks on Colmore Row, the defendant was there and had a laptop.
“They (the customers) couldn’t help but notice the defendant was scrolling through the screen and there were jpegs which showed naked children.
“Acting with deep concern and civic responsibility they called the police.
“There were very very many images of the worst depravity to children.
“There were 137,293 still images and 4,000 moving images and there was distribution through a file sharing site.”
With previous offences against children, including abduction, sexual assault and rape, Swift told officers he had used the images to prevent himself committing worse crimes to satisfy his sick desires.
Mr Sullivan went on; “He said it was to address his inclination to children sexually, this was a way of assuaging his desires or he would erupt.
“He said it was a way of managing much worse crimes than he had done in the past.”
Mr Sullivan urged the court to consider a condition banning Swift from owning devices capable of accessing the Internet but the application was refused.
Jailing the paedophile His Honour Judge Philip Parker QC ruled Swift was a danger to the public from further offending in the future.
He said: “It is plain with some users of indecent images there is little risk of such people converting their desire to view images to physical offences.
“But in your case I am of the view there is a significant risk of serious harm being caused by the commission of offences in the future.
“That could range from sexual assaults to kidnap, voyeurism and downloading (images).
“I find you to be a dangerous offender and I must pass an extended sentence.”
Swift will have to serve at least two thirds of e sentence behind bars before he can be assessed for release by the parole board.
The judge added he would only be released when deemed safe and would then remain in licence for an extended period of five years.
William Harrington, defending, said Swift was frank about his interest in children.
He said; “I have asked what he would do if he could change his life, he said he would turn the clock back to when he was 18 and get help with the problem he has.”