December 2015

Perverted police sergeant caught in online police sting operation

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A police sergeant who told an undercover officer he was into “cute and nasty” images has avoided prison after admitting possessing and distributing indecent images of children.

Andrew Nicholson, 42, was caught in a police sting operation when he sent an undercover officer, referred to as Gary, a password allowing him to view an indecent image.

Stephen Robinson, prosecuting at Hull Crown Court, said Nicholson was engaged in an online conversation, using a file sharing programme, with the officer on July 3, 2013.

Mr Robinson said: “When Gary asked the defendant what he was into, the defendant replied, ‘Cute, uniforms, sweet, nasty’.”

Married Nicholson, of Priory Close, Nafferton, near Driffield, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to one count of distributing an indecent photograph of a child and one count of possessing three indecent images of children.

The images relating to the possession count were recovered from Mr Nicholson’s iPhone on March 4, last year, Mr Robinson told the court.

Judge Kate Buckingham adjourned sentencing on Monday until Friday in order to consider whether Nicholson should be jailed.

She told Nicholson: “I have read a pre-sentence report, a letter you have written and references that show a different and more positive side to you.

“You were a serving police officer.You have thrown away your career and your good name.

“Rightly, you resigned from the police force and numerous positions of trust in the community.”

Judge Buckingham reminded Nicholson, formerly employed by North Yorkshire Police, of the ramifications of viewing indecent images.

“Each child portrayed in an image is a victim of child exploitation and, by your conduct, you are perpetuating that abuse,” she told him.

Judge Buckingham told Nicholson he had let down himself, his family and his community.

However, she added: “It must be put on record that you did not commit these offences during the course of your employment or in the voluntary posts that you held.”

In light of Nicholson’s early guilty pleas, the fact the images were said to have been “low category”, and the verdict of the probation service that he was at “low risk” of reoffending, Judge Buckingham said she could avoid passing a prison sentence.

Instead, Nicholson was given a three-year community order, with a supervision requirement. He must also attend the Northumbria sex offenders’ programme, which comprises up to 45 sessions.

In addition, Nicholson must sign the sex offenders register for five years.

November 2015

Police sergeant faces jail over distribution of child sexual abuse images

A shamed Scarborough police sergeant has been told by a judge he could be jailed after admitting possession and distribution of child abuse images.

Married North Yorkshire officer Andrew Duncan Nicholson, 42, showed no signs of remorse as he walked free from court after pleading guilty to possession and distribution of indecent images.

Nicholson, who worked as a police sergeant in Scarborough, was stone-faced as he pleaded guilty to two charges as they were put to him in the dock of court one at Hull Crown Court on Tuesday.

He pleaded guilty to one offence of distributing an indecent image of a child.

He denied one offence of making nine indecent photographs of children found on his laptop at his home in Nafferton.

He pleaded guilty to possession of three indecent images found on his i-Phone on March 4 2014.

Crown barrister Stephen Robinson said: “The defendant has pleaded guilty to count one the most serious charge of distribution by making a password available to an undercover police officer who he was having a conversation with.”

Nicholson was arrested in an undercover police operation targeting users of the Gigatribe private two-way file sharing site.

After striking up an on-line chat, the undercover officer asked if Nicholson was prepared to send him indecent material. Rather than email an image, the stepfather-of-two allowed the bogus paedophile the use of a password. The password unlocked access to a Category C indecent image of a child on the Gigatribe site.

Although the distribution offence was committed in July 2013 it was not until March 2014 that his home was raided and laptop computer and mobile telephone seized and later analysed for indecent images.

Nicholson left all the explanation for his offending to his barrister Paul Fleming who did not once mention his public role as a police sergeant in Scarborough.

Mr Fleming told the judge “He has resigned from his employment which is dealt with in the papers.

Judge Jeremy Richardson, QC, said he was happy more work had been done on the indictment before it could be put to Mr Nicholson.

He said: “I expect all sentencing options are open including custody. I will release you on bail but on the understanding you co-operate with the probation service in the preparation of the report.”

Nicholson has had to sign on the National Sex Offenders’ Register.

He will be sentenced at Hull Crown Court on December 14.