June 2012

Churchgoer’s hidden child abuse images shame

A JURY took less than an hour to convict a churchgoing dad of two of 35 counts of making and possessing indecent images of children and having extreme photographs.

Factory worker Jason Gurner, 50, denied all counts on the indictment but was found guilty on each one by a jury of eight men and four women at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court.

The counts included six charges of possessing indecent images of children, 25 of making indecent photographs of children and four of possessing bestiality images.

In all, more than 6,400 images and films, ranging from levels one to five, with five being the most serious, were discovered on computers and drives at his home.

“The victims of these images and films were overwhelmingly not yet in their teens,” said Tom Crowther, prosecuting.

The computer enthusiast, who at one point wanted to make IT his career, was found out when he sold a computer to a work colleague, Lee Harris, who reported them to the police. Former butcher Gurner, a member of the Glyncoch Fellowship Church and active in Christian youth groups, sold the computer to Mr Harris on April 13, 2011, and the last image to be stored was the day before.

Gurner, of Garth Avenue, Glyncoch, initially denied having anything to do with the images, but in a second interview admitted to police that he was a paedophile and liked looking at young girls, telling officers that they could be found on hidden files on the computer.

He claimed that confession was because he wanted to spare his wife Sheila, a teaching assistant, being arrested and interviewed.

Gurner later retracted his confession and pleaded not guilty to the charges, but the jury heard that the police hadn’t even known of the hidden files before he admitted to them.

“It seemed obvious they would be in a hidden file,” he told the jury.

In cross examination, Gurner told the jury that he had “no idea” how the images got on the computers but accepted they must have been downloaded in his computer workshop.

Gurner was described by character witnesses as a devoted family man of integrity and strong moral and religious beliefs.