April 2013

Barnstaple church youth worker convicted of child abuse images charges 


A church youth group volunteer who downloaded child porn images also printed stories about children being raped, tortured, cut up and eaten, a court has heard.

North Devon Magistrates’ Court heard Joseph Lock, of Rackfield Court in Barnstaple, was caught when leaders at the Grosvenor Church discovered searches for “pre-teen Asian nudists” on a church laptop.

A police search of Lock’s house also uncovered inappropriate cartoons, morbid stories and writings describing how to kill and cut up victims.

Lock pleaded guilty possessing 61 indecent photographs of a child and possessing 43 prohibited images of a child which were described in court as drawings or graphics.

The indecent images were ranked as category one which is the least offensive of four categories.

The court heard Lock had been a lifelong member of the Grosvenor Church in Barnstaple where he volunteered for the child and youth group.

Karen Ball, for the prosecution, said a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check on Lock was taking a long time so church leaders checked his internet usage.

She said: “They contacted the police when they discovered a search for pre-teen Asian nudists.

“The computer was seized and several category category one images discovered.

“Lock’s home was then searched by police who seized his laptop, mobile phone and several printed stories.

“Lock was arrested on July 2 last year.  He admitted downloading the images onto his laptop and phone and said he had printed the stories out of morbid fascination.”

Lawrence Overend, for the defence, said the stories did not form part of the charges and that Lock has no previous convictions.

He said: “He has been subject to this investigation for 10 months now which must have been a very difficult time for him.

“His work with the church was supervised and there’s no suggestion he ingratiated himself with the church to make criminal actions.

“This is likely to be the one and only time he comes before a court.”

Lock was given a six month community order with supervision and ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge.

He was also made subject to a Sexual Offences Protection Order (SOPO) and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for five years.

Presiding Magistrate Judith Killen said: “There are six conditions on your SOPO.  I won’t read them all out but if you breach any of them you’ll be back in court and this will become a much more serious matter.”

March 2013

Former Barnstaple church volunteer downloaded indecent images of children

A former church volunteer has pleaded guilty to making and possessing indecent images of children.

Joseph Lock, 38, appeared in front of North Devon magistrates this morning charged with two counts of making indecent photographs of children and two counts of possessing prohibited images of children.

The church Lock volunteered at in Barnstaple, which was not named in court, required a Criminal Records Bureau check to be done which revealed the offending images.

As the report was taking some time the bureau decided to check the internet usage on computers Lock had been using.

Terms including “pre-teenage nudists” had been searched for under his profile on the church’s computer so it was seized and subjected to further checks.

Indecent images of children were found and so a further search was conducted at Lock’s home address in June 2012 where more images were found on his personal laptop.

Officers also discovered a number of printed stories about female children being subjected to sexual abuse and eventually death.

There were also mentions of females being raped, tortured, cut up and eaten.

Although the printed stories did not form part of the charge, Karen Ball, for the prosecution, said they were relevant to the case.

Lock, of Rackfield Court in Barnstaple, told officers he had also downloaded images onto his mobile phone.

51 indecent images were found on the device along with 43 prohibited images.

When Lock was interviewed after being granted bail he said he was responsible for all the images downloaded.

He said the images on his phone had been taken from Google.

Lock also said the prohibited images had been downloaded out of a “morbid curiosity.”

Rod Ball, for the defence, told magistrates Lock no longer attended church but still received support from them and he appeared in court with a church worker.

Magistrates adjourned the case for a full pre-sentence report until April 12.

He was granted conditional bail not to have contact or unsupervised contact with a child under the age of 16.