A former school governor from Peterborough has been jailed for two years today (Thursday) after being convicted of possessing indecent images of children.
Andrew Brown (61), the former chair of governors at The King’s School, Peterborough, claimed a man who burgled his house placed the images on devices he had stolen in order to blackmail him.
However, a jury convicted him of six offences after seeing through his lies.
Along with being the former chair of governors at Kings School, Brown was heavily involved in the Girl Guides movement, and was also a former music examiner.
Brown, of Montague Road, Peterborough was sentenced at Peterborough Crown Court today, and he sobbed and waved at his family as he was taken away to start his sentence, his reputation in tatters.
The court was told Brown ‘systematically’ searched for the abuse images, which mainly involved adults beating children - and Judge Jonathan Cooper said Brown had searched for images of children being beaten by their music teacher.
Some of the images included children as young as three and four - and the bulk of the movies and photographs showed youngster under 10-years-old being beaten.
Judge Cooper said: “Your view of children is an utterly repugnant one.
“When you saw these images, you were not repulsed by them, you were attracted by them.
“You are clearly a very damaged man, with a warped view of how children should be treated.
“As a music teacher it is all the more sinister you were searching for abuse of children by their music teacher.”
Barnaby Shaw, defending, said handed Judge Cooper 14 character references, including from family and former colleagues. He said Brown did not accept the conviction of the jury, and planned to appeal - and asked the judge to suspend any jail sentence.
But Judge Cooper said he had to impose the sentence to protect the public, to deter others, and to punish Brown for his ‘grotesque’ offences.
The court was told Brown claimed the images were put on the computer by burglars - and when forensic detectives found the images were put on the computer before the burglary, Brown claimed other burglars must have entered the house and put the images on.
Judge Cooper said: “When you were challenged you sought to blame it on others. Firstly the burglar, and then you suggested further images were put on by other burglars.
“You are aged 61. These convictions have resulted in the loss of work, and your reputation. This is a tragedy for your family, but the effects on you are entirely self inflicted. You have shown no elements of remorse for your behaviour.”
The court was told there was no suggestion Brown had acted inappropriately towards children
Along with the jail term, Brown was also banned from working with children, ordered to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years, and ordered to pay court costs of £2,000.
Judge Cooper also commended the work of the forensic team who brought him to justice.
Brown was found guilty of three counts of possessing indecent images of children, two counts of making indecent images of children, and one count of possessing a prohibited image of a child. He was found not guilty of two counts of possessing extreme pornographic images.
Brown had denied all the charges against him, and looked shocked as the jury foreman delivered the verdicts at the end of last month.
The guilty verdicts came after the jury had been considering the counts for more than five and a half hours, and were all by a majority of 10 to two.
Detective Sergeant James Weston, from the Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT), said: “I am pleased with the decision from the court today, this was a complicated investigation with increased risk because of the defendant’s position of trust.
“His denial throughout the investigation regarding the possession of indecent images of children, extreme and prohibited images resulted in extensive digital forensic investigation work and analysis. We remain committed to safeguarding the most vulnerable and will take positive action to protect those at risk of significant harm.”
An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Vulnerable young children were seriously abused to create the images Brown viewed and his crimes have helped fuel an abhorrent trade.
“Every single image is a crime scene involving a real child who could still be in danger today.
“It is vital that individuals who are in possession of these images are investigated and brought to court to account for their crimes. The NSPCC is also calling for technology companies to commit expertise and take action to prevent this sickening material being available.”
Anyone concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC’s helpline 24 hours a day on 0808 800 5000.