A SEX predator has been recalled to prison on a public protection prison sentence after police discovered his vile stash of hundreds of child sex abuse images.

Computer programmer Timothy Cornford, 52, was jailed in 2007 for trying to get a 12-year-old to meet him for sex.

More than a decade later he has been recalled to prison after police found the indecent images on his electronic devices.

When he appeared before Salisbury Magistrates’ Court last month he pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children. His illegal collection consisted of 427 images in category A, the most serious class that includes photographs of child rape, 160 in category B and 281 in category C.

He was due to be sentenced at Swindon Crown Court on Tuesday.

But that hearing had to be adjourned until April 17 when it emerged Cornford, who appeared before the court via video link from HMP Dartmoor, did not know he was due in court and had not heard from his lawyers. The man’s barrister did not attend the hearing.

Judge Peter Crabtree said: “The court will touch base with the lawyers to make sure Mr Cornford has got representation the next time round.”

In 2007, Cornford was jailed for a minimum of two-and-a-half years after he admitted bombarding a 12-year-old girl with X-rated images and messages telling her she was his “special little girl and porn model”.

He had gone to meet the youngster at a park in south London. But the girl turned out to be an undercover police officer working for the Metropolitan Police.

Detectives raided Cornford’s home in Croydon, finding 100 indecent images of children.

The self-confessed pervert already had a conviction on his record for possession of 20,000 disgusting child sex abuse pictures.

Judge James Wadsworth QC told him he clearly posed a “significant risk of serious harm” to children, the Daily Mail reported at the time.

“I have been told the conversations you were having in chat rooms was fantasy and that may well be right.

“But it is fantasy I have to consider against a background of what has been called ‘paraphernalia’ in your home, against a background of assertions you made to what you believed was a 12-year-old girl, against the background of your previous conviction and, most importantly against the fact you attended what you believed was to be a meeting with a girl you had very plainly told was for sexual purposes.”

He was given an indefinite prison sentence for public protection, a type of sentence scrapped in 2012. He had to serve at least two-and-a-half years before he was eligible for parole.