September 2015

Former teacher and Boy’s Brigade captain caught with indecent images of children

A FORMER teacher and Boys Brigade captain was caught with indecent images of children after a trans-Atlantic investigation.

Police traced the online purchase of a vile DVD to the Hartlepool home of 49-year-old bachelor Neil Thompson, a court heard.

When his computers were seized, investigators found hundreds of sick pictures of naked young boys, said prosecutor David Crook.

Mr Crook told Teesside Crown Court that Thompson was arrested after information was received from the Toronto Police Department.

He admitted buying the DVD featuring teenage boys, and told officers: “There are some images on my computer which shouldn’t be.”

Mr Crook said Thompson explained: “I’m going through a bit of a depression, and thought ‘what are you doing with your life?'”

More than 1,300 indecent images were found – some of them film clips – as well as prohibited images, which were line drawings.

Thompson – cleared two years ago of grooming a boy – worked as a senior learning mentor at St Hilds, a secondary school in Hartlepool.

He has also been a captain of the 8th Hartlepool Boys Brigade – which he joined when he was 15 – and battalion president.

Nigel Soppitt, mitigating, did not disclose any personal details in court, but said Thompson had “a meteoric rise and crash”.

He told Judge Tony Briggs: “I am anxious not to embarrass Mr Thompson any further . . . now he has been reduced to facing custody.”

Thompson, of Navigation Point, Hartlepool, admitted charges of making and possessing indecent images, and possessing prohibited images.

He was given a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with supervision and ordered to go on a treatment programme.

Mr Soppitt said he would “eagerly grasp” the chance to work on the sex offender course, and has been having counselling since his arrest.

“Your Honour has a tried and tested procedure, and he will adhere to it,” the barrister said. “In many respects it’s a sad case.”

A sexual harm prevention order was also imposed which bans Thompson from having unsupervised contact with boys aged under-16.

The judge told him: “You must understand this is your last chance. It is only the detailed information I have about you that saves you.

“The information I have in the medical report pre-sentence report shows there is a prospect of rehabilitation and it’s a realistic one.

“It is a programme that will protect the public in the most effective way in the future. It’s not available in prison sentences of a moderate length.”