April 2011

Ex-governor downloaded nearly 2,000 child porn pictures, court hears

A former school governor and ex-president of the Plymouth Magic Circle downloaded nearly 2,000 pornographic images of children, a court was told.

When police raided Alan Mansell’s home in Elburton Road, Plymstock on January 24 last year, they found stills and movies on his computer, Plymouth Crown Court heard.

Mansell, aged 59, told police the youngsters were aged 13-14 and admitted he looked at the pictures for sexual gratification.

But police later proved many of the children were considerably younger.

Mansell later pleaded guilty to nine counts of possessing and downloading indecent images of children and one of possessing an extreme adult pornographic image.

At the time, Mansell was a governor of Plymstock School and a member of Plymouth Magic Circle, being elected its president in 2008.

The court heard that 1,751 images were at level one, the least serious category, 30 at level two, 91 at level three and 53 at level four. Level five is the most serious category.

Mansell was caught after he visited a website being monitored by police.

Ali Rafati, for Mansell, said he had paid for treatment, was not working as a magician and his duties as a school governor had been administrative.

Judge Francis Gilbert QC told Mansell that the children in the images were abused against their will and often seemed in distress.

He sentenced Mansell to four months in jail suspended for two years with two years’ supervision by the Probation Service and ordered him to pay £1,485 costs, complete the Internet Sex Offender Programme and remain on the Sex Offenders’ Register for seven years.