August 2017

Child protection officer exposed as paedophile

A child protection officer has been sacked after police searched his ­computer and found images of children being ­sexually abused.

Social worker Jonathan Ward who lives in Hove had hoarded more than 100 of the indecent images of children on his hard drive.

The creep also kept a bag of girls’ knickers as a sordid trophy in his home.

The 46-year-old, who had worked at specialist child protection units for two councils, was suspended from his job and then fired – but spared jail.

Ward worked for Surrey County Council and had previously been with Brighton and Hove City Council in East Sussex. Police raided his home last December after a tip-off.

They found the abuse images and underwear alongside a collection of adult porn DVDs.

Ward admitted six counts of making indecent images of children and was handed a seven-month jail term, suspended for two years, and 120 hours’ community service. He was also made the subject of five-year restrictions on contact with kids and internet use.

Judge Paul Tain told Ward at Hove Trial Centre: “People who support the degradation of children through downloading images participate in the crime and participate in the abuse.”

Surrey County Council said after the case: “Mr Ward was suspended as soon as these allegations came to light and has since been dismissed. The offences are unrelated to his work.”

Brighton and Hove Council, for whom he worked from 1999 to 2015, said: “We are shocked and saddened but would like to emphasise that the offences are not connected to his employment with us.”