November 2020

Married scientist admits building secret child abuse images collection

A British scientist who helped build satellite aircraft for the EU’s space programme was spared jail after he was caught with a stash of almost 3,000 child sexual abuse images. 

Clive Smith, 56, admitted secretly compiling a library of child pornography whilst working away from his family, but claimed it was because he felt ‘isolated’ during foreign assignments. 

The twice married father-of-two logged onto explicit websites and downloaded images of youngsters during trips to Norway, Belgium and Luxembourg.

A judge slammed him for fuelling demand and creating a market for child porn and said his ‘distorted satisfaction’ is part of the ‘reason children are being abused’. 

But he was spared jail after admitting to collecting the library of images.  

The mechanical engineer helped design the Sentinel 1 satellite, which launched in 2014 and tracked oil spills and sea ice on Earth from space.

He was arrested after police seized laptops during a raid on his home in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

Officers found almost 3,000 indecent stills and moving images of children aged between 11 and 16 compiled over a period of three years.

Examinations of the computer equipment also found a link to a film entitled ‘eight-year-old girl rape by sex tourist’ on the web history.

At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Smith admitted possessing and making indecent images between 2015 and 2018 and was ordered to sign the Sex Offender register for seven years.

He was also sentenced to four months jail suspended for 18 months and was ordered to abide by the terms of a sexual harm prevention order. His family are standing by him.