April 2015

Lorry driver searched on-line for child sexual images


A LONG-distance lorry driver who had drunken talks about child abuse images in his local pub searched for it on the internet because it “played on his mind”, a court heard.

Former soldier Ralph Green, 53, was arrested after his home was searched on March 6 last year as a result of intelligence passed to police.

A hard drive found in a holdall in a cupboard contained three images at Category A – the most serious – seven at Category B, and 24 at Category C.

Officers recovered a computer tower from his bedroom which contained five indecent images of children at Category B, and two at Category C.

Green had tried to delete the images but they were recovered.

Hull Crown Court heard he used a number of search terms on Google, including “underage kids”, “kids sex Hull” and “rape”.

There was also evidence of a Skype conversation from 2012 Green had with someone called “nana little girl”.

Jayne Bryan, prosecuting, said Green told her “she looked nice” and asked if she had a younger sister.

“He told her he liked little girls and asked if she would show herself,” Miss Bryan said.

Green initially denied accessing the images and said he “must have come across them in drink”.

The court heard Green had altered the settings on his computer so items were deleted in a day, instead of the normal period of 20 days.

He could not explain the search terms that were recovered.

The court heard Green had “followed in his father’s footsteps” by joining the Army, and served for a number of years, including one “difficult” tour of duty overseas.

He became a long-distance lorry driver when he left and bought the house he shares with his elderly parents and nephew off Hessle Road, west Hull.

Geoff Ellis, defending, said: “He’s away most of the week.

“Unfortunately, when he comes home, he drinks excessively, sometimes to the point where he falls asleep in his pub and is woken by staff in the morning.

“There have been a number of conversations in the pub with people in a similar drunken state as he is.

“Those terms have come up and he believes these have played on his mind and he’s made searches.”

Judge John Dowse said: “He’s quite efficient on his computer, isn’t he?”

Mr Ellis agreed.

The judge said: “He’s done his best to hide what he’s been doing. The problem with that is it doesn’t reflect a drunken state – it’s cold and calculating.”

The judge said some of the search terms were among the worst he had come across.

Judge Dowse was given a letter from Green’s father, who accompanied him to court, in which it was said Green had suicidal thoughts.

The judge said: “That’s thinking about him. That’s not about those children who have been exploited, young children.

“Does he think about that?”

“It’s something he’s become more aware of since the pre-sentence report was written,” Mr Ellis said.

Green admitted making indecent photographs of children.

He received a 15-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and will be supervised for two years.

He must sign the sex offenders register for ten years and was made subject to a sexual harm prevention order for the same period.