January 2008

Photographer says he ‘did not think indecent photos of girls were illegal’

A FORMER teacher who downloaded pornographic images of young girls was slammed by a judge on Friday after claiming he did not think it was illegal.

Nicholas Ford was arrested after thousands of indecent photographs were discovered by police when his computer was seized following a raid by officers.

He later said he did not believe any of the youngsters were under 18 – even though experts said more than 3,000 of the photos showed girls aged 13-17.

Judge Michael Heath told Ford: “I have read a troubling pre-sentence report that indicates you still feel you have not done anything wrong.

“It is difficult to believe someone with your experience was unable to make a judgement about a child’s development and whether the child was pubescent.”

Lincoln Crown Court was told Ford taught at secondary schools in Lincolnshire and Norfolk before retiring after suffering a nervous breakdown.

The 54-year-old ex-alcoholic, formerly of Skegness, pleaded guilty to two offences of possessing indecent photographs on August 22, 2006.

Ford, now a freelance photographer, also admitted six charges of making indecent photographs between August 22, 2005, and August 21, 2006.

He was made the subject of a three-year community order, including a condition that he attend an internet sex-offenders’ treatment programme.

Ford, now of Bailey Gate, Castle Acre, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, was also told to register as a sex-offender for 10 years and banned from working with children.

He was arrested after officers, who raided a flat in Drummond Road, Skegness, seized his computer and a number of CDs and floppy discs.

Stephen Lowne, prosecuting, said more than 3,000 images of naked and semi-naked girls were found, though none featured any sexual activity.