August 2013

Child abuse images Shame: BBC engineer from Worcester jailed for “terrible images of child abuse”

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A SUSPENDED BBC engineer who downloaded and distributed thousands of indecent images of children to other paedophiles has been jailed.

Darren Shearer of Newtown Road, Worcester, was jailed for 20 months at Worcester Crown Courttoday. The 26-year-old initially “fervently denied” the allegations that he made and distributed what police called “terrible images of child abuse”.

Analysis revealed 20,722 images, the majority of the least serious category but more than 300 of the most serious. More indecent material was found when police searched Shearer’s desk at the BBC. Shearer gave “no comment” interviews when questioned by police.

He even claimed images found on a BBC computer in Birmingham were downloaded by colleagues. He only chose to admit the offences, 18 counts of making indecent images of children and five counts of distributing indecent images, at a late stage of the investigation.

Shearer, who initially worked as a technical assistant for BBC Hereford and Worcester, later moved to the BBC at the Mailbox in Birmingham on an outside broadcast unit. He no longer works for the BBC, having been suspended when the allegations first came to light and dismissed last March.

Detectives seized computers, telephones and other electronic equipment when they raided Shearer’s home in August 2011, said prosecutor Dan White.

Daniel Oscroft, defending, said Shearer was a man of good character who had first become interested in adult porn but later his interest was in teenagers and young men as opposed to children under age of 13.

No material had been created on his computers for the past two years. He should not have gone down the path of interest in adult porn but the phase had since passed and he was remorseful Mr Oscroft said.

The judge made a 10-year sexual offences prevention order, saying he considered Shearer a danger to the public. Shearer will not be able to log onto the internet without police permission and supervision. His equipment was confiscated. He must also sign the sex offender register for 10 years.

The force’s high-tech crime unit found clear evidence that Shearer was knowingly distributing to a large number of people pictures and videos graphically showing the sexual abuse of children by adults.

He also used chat messaging services to ask for images and discuss the sexual abuse of children.

Detective Constable Sarah Wood, who investigated the case, said: “Behind every child abuse image is an abused child, an exploited and helpless victim. When these images are circulated online, they can live on forever.

“Shearer fervently denied the allegations and it took the intensive efforts of the forensic investigators at the high-tech crime unit to prove he was responsible for not just viewing some terrible images of child abuse, but distributing them to other offenders.”

The case has led police to other paedophiles. One other man has already be convicted as a result of this case.

July 2013

Ex-BBC engineer admits child abuse images charges

darrenshearer

A former BBC engineer has admitted downloading tens of thousands of indecent images of children.

Darren Shearer, 26, from Newtown Road, Worcester, pleaded guilty at Worcester Crown Court to 18 counts of making the images and five counts of distributing them.

The court heard 270 of the images he viewed were at the most serious Level 5 category.

He will return to Worcester Crown Court for sentencing on 30 August.

The offences took place between December 2008 and February this year and were said by defence barrister Daniel Oscroft to depict teenage boys who had “gone through puberty”.

Shearer worked at the BBC’s outside broadcast unit based at its Mailbox site in Birmingham at the time the offences came to light.

A BBC spokesperson said: “Darren Shearer no longer works for the BBC – he was suspended at the earliest opportunity upon hearing of the shocking allegations and was dismissed in March 2013.”