December 2019

‘Predatory’ former police officer from Burgess Hill jailed for sexual activity with a boy

A Burgess Hill man has been jailed for possessing indecent images of children and sexual activity with a boy.

Phillip Patterson, 34, unemployed, of Alexandra Road, Burgess Hill, has already served a prison sentence for possessing more than 50,000 indecent images of children, according to police.

But he has now been given a six-year sentence for similar offences and for sexual activity with a teenage boy, after his ‘repeated and predatory flouting of the law’ was uncovered by a Sussex Police investigation, a police spokesman said.

Patterson was sentenced to a total of six years at Hove Crown Court on Thursday (19 December) after pleading guilty in October to three offences of possession of indecent images of children, and three offences of sexual activity with a teenage boy.

The spokesman added: “An offence of breach of his Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) was not proceeded with and was allowed to lay on the court file.

“He will be a registered sex offender for life and the SHPO has also been continued, to run indefinitely.”

The prosecution, authorised by the CPS, followed an investigation by the Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT) of Sussex Police, working with colleagues in the West Sussex sex offender monitoring team, according to police.

Detective Constable Vicky Jones said: “In September 2011 Phillip Patterson, using his birth name of Philip Savidge, then a serving police officer, admitted 42 offences of making and distribution of 54,323 indecent images of children, including the possession of 1,681 prohibited and extreme images.

“He was sentenced to 27 months imprisonment and the court also gave him a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO), severely restricting his access to children, computers and related digital equipment.

“However, during a routine visit in 2018 to Patterson as part of their role to monitor registered sex offenders in the community, colleagues found on his mobile phone references to indecent material about children.”

When it was subjected to expert forensic examination officers found more than 100 indecent images of young boys, taken from the internet and including more than 40 of the most serious category, she added.

DC Jones said: “The phone also contained evidence of his online grooming and sexual relationship with a boy, a relationship which the boy confirmed when we traced him.”

He had already been given an eight-week suspended sentence in October 2016 for a previous breach of his sex offender notification requirements, and in September 2018 was given a 17-week custodial sentence for the further breach of the registration requirement which came to light in the police visit earlier that year.

In sentencing Patterson, judge David Rennie said; “Children and young people are necessarily vulnerable. Members of the wider community have a responsibility to acknowledge that fact.

“In two separate ways you demonstrated your indifference to the law. You clearly learned nothing at all from your previous sentence.

“Some people reach for the idiotic justification that ‘they’re only pictures’.

“In all of these pictures, a child is having their innocence destroyed.

“Secondly, the [boy], you groomed him and led him into your dark world of paedophilic abuse. I have no hesitation in concluding that you are dangerous.”

September 2011

Former Sussex Police officer jailed for child abuse images offences

A police officer who created a “wicked and evil” stash of child porn pictures has been jailed for 27 months.

Philip Savidge, a Sussex Police sergeant, had been honoured for bravery weeks before his arrest.

He collected 52,000 images, including some in the worst category of extreme abuse, and distributed them online to paedophiles.

Savidge, 26, spent six years working for Sussex Police and was an acting sergeant based in East Grinstead when he was arrested in September. He resigned the same day.

He volunteered as a scout leader with 8th Burgess Hill Scouts, coached at St Andrews Cricket Club in Burgess Hill and was involved with police cadets.

Those roles put him contact with children aged between eight and 18, but none of the offences he was charged with involved contact with children.

Weeks before his arrest he had been given a bravery award for confronting a knifeman at a domestic violence incident.

Savidge, of Alexandra Road, Burgess Hill, admitted 42 counts of making and distributing indecent images and possessing extreme pictures at Lewes Crown Court yesterday.

He used the username babypass2004 on a file-sharing website to distribute indecent still and moving images.

Most pictures were of young boys aged between four and 12. There were 35 involving animals.

Savidge compared his collection to keeping sporting images. He said it helped him cope with stress and that he was relieved when he was caught.

Martin Yale, prosecuting, said: “He said that since he became involved in indecent images the situation snowballed and he had collected in his own words ‘a fair amount’, mainly of young boys.

“He said he knew it was a risk that he would get caught and he knew it was wrong.

“He tried to stop but he had not sought help because he felt it was not the sort of thing he could talk about.”

Savidge was caught when the national Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre passed evidence to Sussex Police.

Judge Richard Brown said: “These are, in my view, wicked and evil offences.

“Each picture represents a child being abused. There are a horrendous number of images in this case.

“Although it doesn’t influence this case, you, as a police officer, should have realised the seriousness of what you were doing.”

He slapped Savidge with an indefinite sexual offences prevention order, which includes limits on his use of computers.

Gareth Morgan, defending, said Savidge had been of previous “exemplary character” with testimonials speaking highly of him.

There was also no suggestion that he had engaged in making money out of the images and he has since sought help for his problems.

Mr Morgan said: “The defendant portrays himself as something of a compulsive – once he got one image he had to get another.

“He said he did not derive sexual attraction looking at these images.”

Richard Prokopowicz, the honorary treasurer of St Andrews Cricket Club, said Savidge coached young cricketers and had had a Criminal Records Bureau check. He left when the allegations arose.

He said: “It was a shock.

“You expect to trust a police officer, of all people.”

A spokesman for the Scout Association said Savidge had been suspended after being arrested and later dismissed.

He said: “Scouting relies on the trust between leaders and young people and he has broken this trust. He will not be involved with The Scout Association ever again.”

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “This case demonstrates that we will bring offenders to justice regardless of their occupation or background.

“Savidge was in a position of great trust within the community he served, but that trust was breached by this criminal behaviour.”