June 2013

Scout leader jailed over child abuse pictures


A SCOUT leader of 30 years has been jailed after “disgusting and depraved” child abuse/indecent images were found on his computer.

Derrick Lodge admitted possessing 33 indecent pictures, six of which involved children engaged in sexual activity, Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court was told.

The court heard how the 54-year-old, of Duffield, was snared by police after he took a computer to be fixed and staff at the shop found the images and alerted detectives.

Police seized hard drives and a computer tower from his home, in Old Mill Close, and on his arrest, in January, Lodge told police he believed the images arrived as “pop-ups” which he was unable to delete as he was “disorganised with computers”.

But at court Lodge, who was involved with different Scout groups in the village and also on the organising committee of the Duffield Carnival, pleaded guilty to four separate counts of possessing indecent images.

Jailing him for 18 weeks and ordering him to sign the sex offenders’ register for seven years, Judge Joanne Alderson said: “I agree you have done much good in the community over the years, but what gives me great concern is that during your time involved in the Scout movement you had in your possession and were viewing these disgusting and depraved images.

“Six of these 33 images were of category four, the second most serious type of child pornography and images which show sexual activity with a child. This is extremely concerning. Anyone who, like you, looks at these pictures of these children is exploiting them over and over again.”

Lynn Manning, prosecuting, told the court that Lodge took his computer to be repaired at a shop in January.

She said: “The staff viewed the contents of the hard drive and saw numerous images of young children and alerted the police. The defendant was arrested and in interview told officers he used the computer to access chat rooms and thinks the pornographic images arrived as pop-ups and at time he had to pull the plug on his computer to stop them. He told them he was disorganised with computers which is why the images might still be on his hard drive.”

Stacey White, for Lodge, said her client was the only person to use his computer and that he had not shared any of the offending images.

She said: “He has been part of the Scouting movement for 30 years and was released from his role following his arrest in January. He was also part of the organising committee for the Duffield Carnival. He worked as an engineer for 20 years before he lost his job in August 2012 and lives with and looks after his elderly mother.”

Speaking after sentencing, Nigel Hooker, part of the Duffield Carnival organising committee, said: “The court has given its verdict. We are sorry there is an interest in child pornography in society and do not condone it.”

A spokesman for the Scout Association said it carries out stringent vetting of all adults who work with young people and requires them to work to a strict code of practice. He added Lodge would never again be allowed to work in the movement.