February 2021

Birmingham college lecturer had vile haul of 100,000 child abuse images

A Birmingham-based college lecturer who taught in the North East had a vile haul of 100,000 indecent images of kids.

The sickening collection belonging to South Tyneside College employee James Whatling, who now lives in Quinton, was discovered by police

There were 251 category A images, including 26 videos, of the most serious kind, including children being raped, plus 274 category B images, including 13 videos. There were also 103,876 category C images, including 22 videos.

The 44-year-old admitted he has a distorted attraction to teenage girls and said he had been saving the pictures from the internet for around four years.

He has lost his job as a result of the offences and has now been given a suspended prison sentence at Newcastle Crown Court.

Alec Burns, prosecuting, said it was in November 2018 that police went to the college, in South Shields, then to his house to seize computer equipment which contained the child abuse material.

Mr Burns said: “He told the police he was sexually attracted to children and downloaded it over a period of four years for his own sexual gratification.”

The court heard the age range of the youngsters featured was between three and 15 although Whatling said he filtered out images of younger children as he was only interested in teenage girls.

Whatling pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children and was sentenced to 12 months suspended for two years. He must also pay costs and be subject to a sexual harm prevention order and sex offender registration for ten years.

Recorder Mark McKone told him: “You will know, having seen them, category A offences involve very young children being raped by adults.

“When people like you download those images, that encourages the perpetrators to carry on committing these dreadful offences.

“The aggravating features are the large volume of images, some of the children were very young indeed and there were some lengthy videos.

“You have lost your employment as a result of this offending and I acknowledge that’s a significant punishment for you. You will have to register as a sex offender which I accept will be difficult.”