January 2020

Pervert police officer who admitted downloading baby rape images spared jail

A former Cambridgeshire police officer and scout leader that downloaded vile images including the rape of a baby has avoided prison

But in giving Phillip Richardson a suspended sentence the judge said that being named and humiliated was part of his punishment.

Richardson – who has changed his name to John Nicholls – admitted downloading and distributing sex abuse images of boys.

Judge Barbara Mensah told him: “They are vile, disgusting and cruel images. It amounts to torture.

“The public revulsion and humiliation which you have received is part of your punishment.”

Prosecutor Margia Mostafa told Luton crown court that the 49-year-old officer was arrested on May 16 last year by Bedfordshire police who raided the married officer’s home in March.

An iPad and three laptops were examined. Officers found 99 Category A still and moving images – the most serious level. There were 208 at Category B and 218 at Category C, the least serious level.

Search terms used by Nicholls including the words: “F…… Boys,” “Incest”, “Brazilian boys” and “Teen boys kissing.”

In one image a baby was being raped and in another a 12 year was being orally raped. He had used the internet site Tumblr to distribute a Category B and a Category C image.

When he was interviewed he did not answer police questions, but in a prepared statement he apologised and said he would seek professional help.

Nicholls, who now lives in Doncaster, appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to three charges of making (downloading) indecent photograph/pseudo photographs of a child and two of distributing indecent photographs/pseudo photographs of a child.

He had been a beat bobby and the Fenland licensing officer, before being sacked by Cambridgeshire police on July 3.

In 2011 he told a local community website in March that he wanted the town to be a dangerous place for criminals. He boasted on the ShapeYourPlace website: “I love locking them up, the more I can get off the streets the better the chances of me having a smiley photo.”

Judge Mensah sentenced him to 15 months in jail suspended for two years.

He must attend a ‘Horizon’ sex offender programme, carry out 20 days of a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and 200 hours’ unpaid work. The iPad and Laptops were forfeited and he has 28 days to pay £300 costs.

In addition, he must register as a sex offender and abide by the terms of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.