Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

'Bored' Ex-Cop Collected Child Abuse Images

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

'Bored' Ex-Cop Collected Child Abuse Images

Article excerpt

Byline: Gareth Lightfoot Court Reporter gareth.lightfoot@trinitymirror.com

A RETIRED police officer has avoided prison after he was caught with hundreds of child abuse images on his computer equipment.

Michael Raymond Thompson, 69 - who had been a policeman for 30 years - had indecent images of children including a film more than two hours long.

He claimed he amassed the collection of more than 700 pictures simply because he was bored.

Information from the National Crime Agency led Cleveland Police officers to the former officer's Stockton home on August 24 last year.

They found a laptop containing 625 indecent still and moving images, including 227 at the most serious level with one movie lasting over two hours.

"The Crown say there's a large number of victims," said prosecutor Harry Hadfield.

More films were found on a USB drive and the images were of children aged five to 16, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Thompson's internet history revealed he actively searched for "young teens and topless models" and viewed files "indicative of child abuse material".

At first he claimed he might have inadvertently accessed material, but later confessed saying his "foolish" actions were out of boredom, not sexual motives.

Thompson, of Earls Court, Norton, admitted two counts of making indecent photographs of children and one of possessing seven prohibited images of children - his first conviction.

Robert Mochrie, defending, said: "Mr Thompson at the age of 69 has never troubled the court before.

"Furthermore he's served the public for 30 years as a serving police officer. That was a long time ago now, somewhere in the region of 18 years ago, maybe more.

"It really is a terrible shame that he has wandered down this particular path. His reason for it, as absurd as it may seem, is that of boredom. …

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