May 2016

Former police worker ‘hooked’ on child abuse images


A FORMER Staffordshire Police employee was caught downloading more than 20,000 indecent images of children.

Martin Holdcroft said he began looking at adult pornography and then became ‘hooked’ on images of child sexual abuse

But the 61-year-old was arrested after police visited his Loggerheads home and seized his computer equipment.

They found 20,473 images and films at category C; 177 images and films at category B; and 186 images and movies at category A – the most serious.

The children were aged six to 16 and the images included them having sex with adults.

Now Holdcroft has been handed a suspended jail sentence at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.

Prosecutor Richard Gibbs said police seized computers and laptops from the defendant’s front bedroom on May 13, 2014.

Mr Gibbs said: “All contained indecent images and films of children.”

‘He spiralled into crippling depression’

The defendant told officers he looked at images of young girls and became hooked on it.

He said he had not looked at them for two years and was trying to wean himself off.

Holdcroft, of Meadowside, Loggerheads, pleaded guilty to six offences of making indecent photographs of a child.

Recorder Simon Ward sentenced Holdcroft to four months in prison, suspended for two years, with supervision.

He was made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and was placed on the sex offenders’ register for seven years.

Recorder Ward said: “I accept you had spiralled downwards after a combination of very sad family circumstances led you online to look at ordinary pornographic material.

“But once you got into this murky world you stayed there for quite a while.”

The judge added: “Offences of this nature are so serious because you are creating the market for people who abuse children to take photos or movies of children and put them online.”