November 2010

Killer pervert had child porn pics

A 24-year-old who killed a vulnerable young man has been ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for five years after admitting making indecent images of young boys.

Ben Murphy was convicted of killing Adrian Palmer, who suffered from Asperger’s syndrome, and served four years for manslaughter.

Mr Palmer’s body was found dumped in an alleyway after Murphy strangled the 21-year-old in Tenbury Wells in 2006.

Just months after his release from jail, however, Murphy was found to have taken photographs of indecent images off a website saying they had been for “artistic” purposes.

He had already admitted three charges of making indecent photos of what prosecutors described as “pre-pubescent boys” posing, and a single count of possession of an image.

Emma Lile, prosecuting, said the images came to light when Murphy was told to leave his mother and step-father’s house after a family fall-out. “While his step-father was gathering his belongings he found images of young boys in a drawer and the police were called,” she said.

In interview he said he had no interest in the images other than purely artistic.

Richard Hull, in mitigation, repeated his client had an “artistic” interest in the pictures but was asked by deputy district judge Peter Hollingworth if his client was “deluding himself”, taking account of the website address where the images were viewed. Mr Hull replied that Murphy, of Mersey Grove, Birmingham, felt his behaviour was “wholly inappropriate” and recognised “there is some sexual motivation behind it”.

At a hearing on November 25, Judge Hollingworth gave unemployed Murphy a three-year supervision order and told him to sign the sex offenders register, with £30 court costs.

After Mr Palmer was killed, it emerged he had called police earlier in 2006 alleging Murphy had raped him but a Crown Prosecution Service investigation came to nothing. The Independent Police Complaints Commission later ruled the police had failed to properly investigate the alleged rape.

After sentencing, Mr Palmer’s family said they were “concerned young boys and vulnerable men will be at risk” while Murphy remained free. His uncle said: “We hope Murphy is rigorously monitored now he has had to sign the sex offenders register and other innocent people are not let down by those professionals supervising him.”

West Mercia Police spokesman said: “A short custodial sentence would not necessarily achieve any improvement in an offender’s behaviour upon release, whereas joint management by the police and probation service can – and does – yield positive results, particularly with this type of offending.

“Under the supervision order – when Murphy will be jointly monitored by the police and the probation service – and his behaviour addressed by experts.

“Additionally, under the longer sex offenders register period of five years, Murphy will remain under police supervision.”