May 2012

Karate champ Tim Stephens jailed for 30 months for child sex offences

A FORMER world karate champion from Poole who committed a string of sexual offences has been jailed for 30 months.

Triple world number one Tim Stephens, 50, will be released in less than half that time after pleading guilty to a total of 43 charges, in which he assaulted a woman in her sleep, groomed a teenage girl online and hoarded vast numbers of indecent photos, Bournemouth Crown Court heard.

But his former partner told the Daily Echo: “I’m disgusted with the sentence.

“I thought he should get at least five years

“I’m just repulsed, it’s all revolting. What he’s done is unbelievable.”

She added: “His offences were just something we were confronted with one day.”

An acquaintance of many years, who sat through the disturbing court hearing, said: “I wish I didn’t know him now.

“I just don’t think 30 months was enough for what he has done.”

He added: “I first realised what he’d done when I heard him plead guilty in February.

“I was repulsed, and personally I was hoping he would get five years inside.”

Stephens, who has been teaching karate in Poole for more than 20 years, has been locked up since his arrest last June, when police visited his Alcester Road home to investigate a complaint

Prosecutor Mark Worsley told the court: “A bedroom was wall to wall and almost floor to ceiling stacked with DVDs and films, a large amount of adult and legal porn and also a number of computers were seized.

“There was a vast number of hard drives, totally huge amounts of storage, the analysis of which has tested the resources of Dorset police’s high tech crime unit.”

Detectives found evidence of Stephens grooming a teenage girl online.

He added: “The conversation soon escalates to grossly inappropriate and overtly sexual.”

Stephens then tried to send the girl an indecent photograph of himself and asked her to do the same, the court heard.

One count of assault by penetration relates to 2005, when he photographed himself assaulting a woman in her sleep.

Nine counts of voyeurism related to a secret camera set up in his bathroom.

Sixteen counts on the indictment were for taking, making and possessing indecent photographs.

Over a three year period, Stephens had taken more than 4,000 photos of one girl, using some as a collage on his computer screensaver.

There were 19 offences of possessing level one images, five of level two, four of level three and two of level four – indecent images are ranked in order of seriousness with one the lowest and five considered to be the most serious.

The charges relate to numerous children.

Anne Brown, mitigating, wanted to see Stephens on a sexual offences programme in the community rather than imprisoned.

“These offences are pathetic as opposed to predatory, desperate rather than dangerous,” Ms Brown said.

“He has not gone out and sought to offend.

“He has taken advantage of opportunities that have presented themselves and he has allowed his sexual impulses to behave without inhibition.”

Pressing for a non-custodial sentence, Ms Brown said: “This is a man who has been punished enormously.

“He has lost his world, his reputation and his career.”

Sentencing, Judge Peter Johnson, said he had breached the trust of friends, neighbours, close family, karate pupils and their parents.

He signed an order for Stephens’ computers to be crushed, and banned him from taking photographs of children, buying a computer or mobile phone without telling police, and from contacting anyone under 16 online.

Stephens will also be on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely and has been disqualified from working with children.

Summing up, Judge Johnson said: “Over a prolonged period of offending you violated all types of people, most particularly young children.”