Gregory Lydall – a psychiatrist who worked for the States of Guernsey until his arrest – has been jailed for 30 months after admitting numerous counts of downloading indecent images of children.
The 44-year-old was one of the senior professionals working for the island’s Health and Social Care services, dealing with a number of vulnerable patients including those who had themselves suffered childhood abuse.
Lydall previously admitted his crimes when he appeared before the Royal Court in the summer, where he admitted downloading hundreds of images of children under the age of 16.
He also admitted downloading and possessing thousands of ‘pseudo images’ of children.
In total, the former Adult Mental Health Services Consultant was charged with ‘making’ – downloading or screenshooting – over 700 ‘live’ images of children under 16 and also having 4,137 ‘pseudo images’, which were computer generated images of child sexual abuse
716 of the ‘live’ images were category one, 18 were category two, 11 were category three, 27 were category four and three were category five. Categories four and five include the worst kind of images possible. Some of the children featured were as young as three years old, although Lydall reportedly ‘preferred’ older girls.
All of these images, along with evidence of more deleted files, were found following a Guernsey Police search of Lydall’s house. Officers attended the house on January 10 this year after they detected someone accessing a website known for having child sexual abuse images
Lydall was arrested soon after he answered the door, and police seized 66 electronic devices. These included a laptop found next to Lydall’s bed, a number of storage hard drives, SSDs, and USBs.
Two of these were plugged in to the laptop at the time. After examination five devices were found to have images on them. Many of these were encrypted and password protected, and while Lydall provided codes to Guernsey Police, they still never managed to access all of the files.
Three encrypted files, for example, were on the hard drive, but could not be opened.
The laptop also had software installed which would have helped its user to download files en masse, and a VPN, which would have covered up the IP address being used to access the internet.
Finally, there was evidence thousands of files had been deleted from the storage devices that could not be identified.
Some of the images were saved as recently as the evening of Christmas Day 2018.
Presiding over the case, Mr McMahon said: “While some of your former colleagues and patients have been supportive of you, many are not going to be. We do not yet know the impact on those patients that your offending coming to light will have.
“We do know that your offending could have an affect on how the psychiatric services are perceived going forwards.”
They deemed that immediate custody was the only option open to them. Mr McMahon said if Lydall hadn’t been arrested, he wouldn’t have stopped his offending or tried to seek help.
Overall, Lydall will serve 30 months in prison, then he will be on an extended sentence licence for three years, where he will not have access to the internet, and will be monitored by a probation officer.
For a further 10 years, he will have a notification order, so he will have to report to probation regularly.
Lydall was born in South Africa, and trained as a doctor there. He came to the UK in 2003, and was given British Citizenship, and then finally in 2010 relocated to Guernsey to take on his first consultancy post.