July 2020

Former city councillor sentenced for sex offences

A former Labour councillor has been sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years, after being found with more than 36,000 indecent images of children and other extreme pornography.

Roger Spackman, 50, of College Road, was sentenced at Exeter Crown Court today [28 July] after pleading guilty last month to possessing and making indecent images.

The sentence follows one of the biggest investigations of its kind conducted by Devon and Cornwall Police.

Spackman was arrested at his home in 2017 where 68 items and electronic devices, including hard drives and mobile phones, were seized by officers from the Paedophile Online Investigation Team.

In excess of 36,000 indecent images of children, prohibited images and extreme pornographic images were identified from the near five million images and movies that were recovered as part of the investigation.

Specialist investigators spent over 100 hours categorising the images and identified illegal material dated from 2007 to 2017. Each image had to be reviewed, evidenced and assigned a category consistent with the severity of its content; with Category A classed as the most severe.

The Investigators identified 58 Category A, 49 Category B and 27,520 Category C movies and pictures. They also identified 8,682 prohibited pictures and 370 extreme pictures and movies.

Following a near three-year investigation, Spackman was summonsed to court to face charges in June 2020 where he entered a guilty plea to five charges: possessing a prohibited image of a child, possessing extreme pornographic images portraying a sexual act with an animal and three counts of making an indecent photograph/pseudo-photograph of a child.

Following his guilty plea, Spackman was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register.

He further appeared at Exeter Crown Court today where he was sentenced by the judge to 10 months suspended for two years and given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

The Labour councillor had a 12-year career in Devon’s child protection services.

In 1998 he began working at Intervention Services for Devon County Council at a secure children’s home, occasionally working at other units. Before this, he was involved in the creation of Riverside Youth Café in Dawlish.

From September 2001 he worked full-time at a Secure Children’s Home until his role was axed in redundancies in February 2010.