Photographer jailed for taking indecent picture of young girl and possessing child abuse videos

Brian Claassen, who has been jailed. Picture: Wiltshire Police
Brian Claassen, who has been jailed. Picture: Wiltshire Police

A Fenland photographer has been jailed after he assaulted a young vulnerable girl and took an indecent picture of her.

Brian Claassen 40, of Valentine Close, Manea, was sentenced to three years and four months imprisonment after pleading guilty to the offences which took place at his photography studio, Lifestyle Portraits Ltd, based in the Brunel Shopping Centre, Swindon, in June 2016.

He also pleaded guilty to charges of possessing indecent images of children of which there were 166 in total.

All pleas were made at earlier hearings at Portsmouth Crown Court.

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Claasson took advantage of a vulnerable young girl for his own sexual gratification and the impact of his actions on her emotional wellbeing is likely to be severe. We hope she receives appropriate support to recover.

“He also amassed a collection of online videos of child abuse, in which youngsters suffer horrendously for this vile trade in indecent images.

“In order to stem the tide of child abuse images online, the NSPCC is calling for every police force in the UK to have a specialist digital child abuse unit trained to deal with online offences against children and for web providers to do far more to prevent this sickening material from being available on their platforms to abusers like Claasson.”

Following sentencing, Det Con Mark Harris, from Swindon CID, said: “I am extremely pleased with the sentence handed out today.

“I must thank the family involved. Without the questioning nature of this young girl, who told her mum and dad in the first place, and the help and support her parents have given our investigation team, it’s possible Claassen’s activities could have gone undetected; instead, their vital evidence has led to a guilty plea and sentence.

“This case highlights the dedication Wiltshire Police have to victims of sexual offences.

“Today’s outcome sends a message to anyone who carries out this sort of behaviour - we will thoroughly investigate and bring you to justice.”

As well as the custodial sentence, Claassen will be on the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years and will be the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order. His electronic equipment will be forfeited.

Any adult concerned about the welfare of a child or young person can call the NSPCC helpline for free 24/7 on 0808 800 5000. Meanwhile, children can call ChildLine on 0800 1111.