June 2012

Extreme pornography involving an octopus was found on pervert’s home computer in Bishop’s Stortford, court told

A CHILD porn pervert who was also found to have extreme pornography involving an octopus has been warned he will be jailed if he offends again.

Alexander Thirkell, a £54,000-a-year sales manager, was arrested after police raided his former home in Hadham Road, Bishop’s Stortford, on April 21 last year, St Albans Crown Court heard yesterday (Thursday, June 21).

Isabel Delamere, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said that the hard drive on his computer was examined and 76 indecent images of children were found. The vast majority were at level 1, the lowest of five levels of seriousness, but 28 were at levels 3 and 4.

Most of them were of girls aged around 14, said the prosecutor. 

Thirkell, 40, who now lives with his wife and young son in Halifax, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to eight counts of possessing indecent images and one of having extreme pornography involving an octopus. He told a probation officer he had looked at the images because he was bored.

The court was told that in 2004 he was given a two-year community rehabilitation order after admitting 12 charges of making indecent photographs of children. In 2000 he was fined £100 for kerb crawling.

Thirkell wore a dark suit and tie in the dock and had his head bowed for most of the proceedings.

Thomas Nicholson-Pratt, defending, said that the “small number of images” related to a 25-minute period on one date.

Judge Andrew Bright QC passed a three-year community order with 36 months’ supervision.

He said: “Without people like you there would not be any of these images.

“If you let the probation service down you will be locked up. You won’t be given another chance.”

Thirkell will be on the sex offenders’ register for five years and must pay £1,200 costs.

April 2004

Ex-teacher admits child porn charges

A FORMER teacher was caught accessing child pornography on the Internet while working at his family’s furnishings store, Teeside Crown Court was told.

Police found 2,480 paedophile images on Alexander Thirkell’s work computer.

Thirkell, 32, of Hurworth Road, Hurworth Place, near Darlington, admitted 12 charges of making indecent photographs of children. Another 16 similar charges and one of indecent assault were left to lie on file.

Police were alerted by workers at the Shildon branch of Woodbridge Furnishings, where he was manager.

Thirkell, a former teacher at Spennymoor Comprehensive School, was the only one who used the computer on a regular basis.

A woman told police how he showed her computer images of dead bodies in road crashes and had also asked her about her sex life, said Aisha Wadoodi, prosecuting.

He initially denied accessing pornography and paedophile material but the 2,480 paedophile images were found by Durham Police’s Computer Crime Unit.

The prosecution accepted Thirkell’s guilty plea on the basis that the images in the 12 charges were all downloaded on September 8, 2002.

Miss Wadoodi said that Thirkell had appeared before Teesside Magistrates for soliciting in November 2000, when he was fined £100 with £25 costs.

Sarah Mallett, mitigating, said that Thirkell had decided to leave his family’s firm because the negative publicity surrounding the case had weighed heavily on his father.

She said that he clicked on to the child porn images out of curiosity, but now viewed them as horrific.

“He now realises the social stigma,” she said. “He is involved in charitable works, has a kind and caring nature, he is socially well-adjusted and morally responsible in all his life apart from on this occasion.”

Judge Leslie Spittle said: “These are not made-up images, these are real children and the gravity of this sort of offending is that in order for these images to be made available there are offences on real children.”

Thirkell was given two years Community Rehabilitation and ordered to register as a sex offender for five years. The judge also ordered the computer to be forfeited.