September 2019

Children’s referee had indecent images of girls on phone

A children’s football referee downloaded indecent images of girls as young as 12 months old onto his phone.

Michael Jenson, 28, formerly of Shotton in Flintshire, and of Chester, admitted making indecent images and videos of child sex abuse by downloading, Mold Crown Court heard.

Jenson, now of Leicester, knew police were watching him but was so desperate to view images he carried on.

He was sentenced to 10 months in prison suspended for two years.

The court heard he had had 160 images and videos on a mobile phone, of which 21 were the most serious category.

There were also search terms showing an interest in underage sexual activity.

He was placed on 40 days rehabilitation and sent on a programme run by the prosecution service to reduce the risk of further offending.

Jenson was also given a ten-year sexual harm prevention order banning him from contact with girls under 16.

Judge Niclas Parry said a letter from Cheshire Football Association outlining concerns about Jenson’s position as a referee had prompted the order, which was not usually given for non-contact offences.

“I bear in mind that quite sensibly you’re not intending to carry out that activity.

“You know people will know about this and you would probably not be allowed to in any event,” he said.

Sentencing, Judge Parry said: “Since at least 2016 by your own admission you have been seeking out indecent images because you hold sexual thoughts towards children.”

He said the images of the kind the defendant had viewed ruined the lives of children, adding: “They endure the pain and suffering that is shown.”