September 2011

Ex-soldier escapes jail over abuse images charges

A former soldier who became hooked on child sexual abuse images after being discharged from the Army with a back injury was freed by a judge yesterday.

Terence Cull, 46, who admitted 11 child sex abuse images offences and one of stealing a pair of child’s underwear, had been remanded in custody since his arrest almost four months ago.

Yesterday, after hearing how Cull had decided to “research” paedophiles after leaving the Army in 2006 but then became one himself, Judge William Hart sentenced him to a three-year community order.

He also placed Cull under supervision and ordered him to attend a sex offender programme.

As a condition of his sentence, Cull will have to live at the Ryecroft Hostel in Tredworth, Gloucester, and he is banned from going to his former home of Princess Elizabeth Way and Ceylon House, Cheltenham.

The judge told Cull: “You were once a man in high regard, a serving soldier who was discharged with an exemplary report.

“Everyone thought well of you. You cannot get lower in society, can you, than to be involved in sexual offences involving images of children?

“It makes you a pariah. You have got to earn back the respect of those who once respected you.”

At an earlier hearing, Cull, then of Princess Elizabeth Way, pleaded guilty to 11 offences of making indecent photographs of children between June 1 2006 and May 12 this year.

Ten of the charges each referred to individual photos ranging in seriousness from level one to level four on a scale of 1 to 5.

The 11th charge related to 931 images found stored on his computer. He denied an offence of breaking into an address in Ceylon House, Cheltenham, between January 2006 and May 2011 and stealing an item of child’s underwear but admitted an alternative charge of stealing the underwear.

Prosecutor Lisa Hennessy said that on March 14 police received information that Cull was using his email account to post “sexually explicit comments about pictures of minors online”. Police raided his home on May 12 and arrested him. They seized a holdall containing a large quantity of underwear, said Mrs Hennessy.

“Also found in his home were various adult pornographic magazines with indecent images of children inside them on separate pieces of paper,” she said. “There were also a number of pictures of local women and children and schoolgirls, which had been taken from the window of his flat.”

Judge Hart told Cull his offences were “peculiar and disturbing”.

He said in view of the fact that Cull had served the equivalent of the prison sentence he could receive for his offences it would be better for society for him to be treated for his sexual deviance.