February 2021

Teacher caught with vile videos jailed

A teacher and university worker caught with sick videos of children as young as five-years-old was finally jailed five years after being arrested.

But despite possessing videos which were in the most serious Category A and lasted up to forty minutes, German national Olaf Raetzel is likely to be released within a matter of weeks.

Preston Crown Court, sitting at Burnley Crown Court, heard that Raetzel, 51, was arrested in Ormskirk in 2015 but failed to turn up for a police appointment.

He started a new life in Dublin where, despite his perverted past, he was working as a content moderator for a social media company.

He was detained again in September last year on a European Arrest Warrant and brought before a special High Court session which granted his extradition.

More than five years on from a police raid at his home in West Lancashire, he pleaded guilty in December to three counts of possessing indecent images of children.

Prosecuting, Eleanor Gleeson said that police seized a laptop, USB device and Samsung tablet in May 2015 and recovered 21 files containing the sick photographs and videos.

In total, there were seven videos classed as Category A, five videos in Category B and nine Category C photographs.

However, there were further inaccessible files whose names alluded to illicit content, while his browser history was also suggestive of illegal content.

The youngest children seen in the videos were estimated to be aged between five and eight, while the majority involved girls believed to be girls aged 9-15. The videos ranged between two and 39 minutes.

Raetzel, now of no fixed address, gave no comment in interview and was released on bail, only to fail to turn up to an appointment at Ormskirk police station in November of that year.

Defending, Peter Holden said Raetzel came to the UK in the early 90s and had undertaken a degree in Theoretical Physics. He then started a PHD before moving into teaching and went on to a job as a learning technology development officer at Ormskirk’s Edge Hill University.

Sentencing, Judge Sara Dodd said that had Raetzel been brought before the court in 2015, he would likely have been handed a five-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

However, as that time has now passed and no further offences committed, this was no longer deemed necessary to protect the public.

She handed Raetzel a five month sentence, of which he will serve no more than half.

The two months already served in Preston since the hearing at the lower court count towards that time, meaning he is likely to be released within weeks.