April 2007

Prison officer & scoutmaster jailed for child abuse images

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A judge yesterday said he was staggered at how easy it was find sick sex pictures of children on the Internet as he jailed a former Scoutmaster.

Andrew Hadwin, 27, was jailed at Oxford Crown Court yesterday for possessing and distributing thousands of indecent images of children via an Internet search engine.

Sentencing Hadwin to 18 months, Recorder Peter Clarke backed calls for Internet search engines to restrict access to illegal material.

Yesterday a report by the Internet Watch Foundation revealed the number of websites showing indecent images of children had quadrupled in the past three years.

Mr Clarke said: “It does beggar belief that it is so easy to just type out words like that into a computer or search engine run by such an international company and come up with pornography so easily.”

Prosecutor Peter Coombe told the sentencing hearing Hadwin began his perverted search for child pornography by entering keywords into the search engine on his personal computer.

Hadwin, of Gibbs Crescent, in West Oxford, also joined an Internet group where requests were made to trade indecent images of children, Mr Coombe added.

One email request for a specific image written by Hadwin to a fellow online pervert was not read out publicly because Mr Clarke believed it was too indecent to be heard in open court.

Yesterday the Oxford Mail typed some of Hadwin’s search requests into the Internet search engine and found links to child and teenage pornographic websites within seconds.

Mr Clarke said: “I feel it necessary to echo the court’s concern to the ease with which search engines of any kind can be used to access indecent images. I am extremely conscious these remarks might even increase the perverted use of search engines.

“But it seems to me every proper effort should be made to try and restrict the availability of pornographic material involving children.”

He said it was a trade that caused children worldwide to be abused.

Hadwin – who was a Scoutmaster and worked as a prison officer at Bullingdon prison, near Bicester – had earlier pleaded guilty to seven counts of distributing indecent photographs of children and possession of 2,724 images and 105 videos.

Nine of the images and one of the videos were classed as level five which included simulated torture of children.

Mr Coombe told the court police were tipped off about the content on Hadwin’s computer by his lodger.

Jennifer Edwards, defending, said Hadwin had married after he entered his guilty pleas last month and his wife was standing by him.

She said: “The reality is access (to indecent images) is frighteningly easy.”

Hadwin was sacked as a prison officer and banned from working with the Scout movement after he pleaded guilty. Mr Clarke banned him from working with children or from having a password to a private home computer when released from jail.

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