August 2017

Paedophile whose job it was prevent sex offenders and criminals from working with youngsters is jailed

A paedophile who collected over 1,000 illicit images despite working at the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has been jailed for one year.

Graeme Smith, 39, downloaded over 1,000 illicit images – with some featuring children as young as six.

For some of those years he worked at the government agency, which carries out checks to warn employers about unsuitable applicants for jobs with children and vulnerable people.

Police visited his home in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, on February 24, acting on information he was using an online instant relay chat channel, which calls itself a ‘a channel for the respectful appreciation of youthful beauty’.

Smith had posed as a 17-year-old girl called Sarah London on the group, which lets users discuss child exploitation said Jonathan Harley, prosecuting.

He accessed 1,076 illicit images of children, 803 of which were deleted, an examination of his computer equipment found.

Or the remaining 273, 36 were in the most serious category with 11 of being moving images, Mr Harley told Durham Crown Court. 

Smith immediately admitted to police that he had downloaded indecent images of children, Durham Crown Court heard. 

After querying Smith’s role at the DBS, Judge Christopher Prince was assured he worked in an administrative post and did not have access to any unsuitable material.

Smith, who has no previous convictions, admitted three counts of making indecent images of a child, in between October 2003 and February 2017.

Smith was made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, restricting future computer use, ‘until further order’, and must register as a sex offender for ten years.