Former Peterborough school governor guilty of possessing indecent images of children

Andrew Brown outside court EMN-160518-212009009
Andrew Brown outside court EMN-160518-212009009

A former governor at The Kings School in Peterborough is facing a ail term after being found guilty of a number of charges relating to indecent images of children.

Andrew Brown (61) of Montague Road, Peterborough, 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. He struggled to stand as Judge Jonathan Cooper addressed him as he adjourned the hearing. There were also tears and sobs from his friends and family, who were sitting in the public gallery to support him.

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.

Judge Cooper thanked the jury for their service, and gave Brown bail until the sentencing hearing, which will take place at Cambridge Crown Court on April 27.

He said: “I’m going to adjourn the sentencing exercise to be heard on April 27 at Cambridge Crown Court.

“The starting point for these offences is a custodial sentence, and you should be prepared for that.”

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.”

The court heard the offences came to light after a burglary at Brown’s home.

On October 24, 2015, Brown and his wife left their family home in Park Road, Peterborough, at about 10.15am. On their return at about 1.15pm they discovered their home had been broken into and three USB memory sticks, a laptop, £300 in cash, old mobile phones and other items had been taken.

Four days later on October 28, at about 7.10am, Brown found an envelope addressed to him which had been hand-delivered to his house. On opening it he found it to contain a letter demanding £8,000 in cash as well as three indecent images of a boy.

The author of the letter stated they had indecent images of children which came from the burglary and demanded £8,000 cash to buy their silence and for the return of the images. There was a telephone number included for Mr Brown to ring.

Brown reported this to police who attended the address and interviewed him as a witness where he denied any knowledge of the indecent images.Ryan Penfold, 29, of Tirrington, Bretton, was traced via the mobile phone number left on the letter. He was located and arrested on October 28, 2015, and a search was carried out at his home address where officers found the items stolen from Brown’s home.

Penfold was charged in connection with the offence and pleaded guilty to burglary, handling stolen goods, blackmail and possession of class A and B drugs. He was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison.

Forensic analysis of Brown’s devices uncovered a total of 718 indecent images of children as young as three-years-old, all with creation dates before the date of the burglary on October 24, 2015.

The images included 600 still and 118 moving images, 170 of which were graded category A (the most severe), 372 category B and 176 category C, as well as three prohibited images of a child and two extreme pornographic images.

Brown was arrested on November 2, 2015, and admitted the devices belonged to him, however he denied all knowledge of the images. When he was told the dates the images were placed on the devices, he claimed the burglar must have broken into his home on a previous occasion to place them there.

On Wednesday, October 26 last year, he appeared at Peterborough Crown Court and denied the charges against him, continuing with the defence that the burglar, or someone else, must have put the images on his devices. Due to new claims being made by the defence and then subsequent further evidence being supplied by the prosecution, the case was adjourned for a retrial which started on Monday, March 20.

Prior to his arrest Brown was the Chair of Governors of The Kings School in Park Road, Peterborough, as well as working for the AQA examination board and Trinity College London.

One count of making indecent images of children was dropped by the prosecution during the trial.