July 2019

Research scientist distributed child abuse images

A research scientist who distributed child abuse images has been sentenced.

Joseph Payne is a holder of a PHD from research into bacterial disease and works at the University of the West of England (UWE).

But, when not working, the 27-year-old chatted to like-minded people online about having sex with people under-age.

Police investigating a suspected sex offender found incriminating chats he had been having with Burns on the subject via WhatsApp.

Payne was also found to have sent the suspect a photo of a boy aged 12 to 15, posing naked from the waist down, and was tracked down.

Payne, of Webbs Heath in Siston, pleaded guilty to three charges of distributing an indecent photograph of a child and three charges of making an indecent photograph of a child.

The offences occurred between January 2017 and July 2018.

At Bristol Crown Court on July 3, 2019, the Recorder of Bristol His Honour Judge Peter Blair QC handed Payne a three-year community order, with 140 hours of unpaid work.

Payne was also told to pay costs of £425 and an £85 victim surcharge.
He told Payne: “Your employers are prepared to continue to employ you.

“There’s a good prospect of rehabilitation if you take the rigorous programme that is prepared by the Probation Service.

“This is not a let-off.”

Payne was told to register as a sex offender for five years and was handed a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order banning him from unchecked Internet use.

Ellen McAnaw, prosecuting, told Bristol Crown Court police found child abuse images on Payne’s mobile phone.

They comprised of some deemed to be in the most serious abuse level Category A

Payne admitted to police he possessed and distributed indecent images.