April 2021

West Yorkshire Police officer caught with sick child abuse videos

A West Yorkshire Police officer was in a ‘downward spiral’ when he downloaded sick child abuse videos, a court heard.

Carl Hardcastle was caught with seven category A videos downloaded between April 1 and October 8 last year when police searched his home in Otley, Leeds.

Hardcastle was suspended by the force and later resigned, but still faces misconduct proceeding seeking to ban him from working for the police ever again.

Hardcastle worked in the ‘Protective Services Crime’ and had served three decades in the police force

The married 57-year-old pleaded guilty to one count of making indecent images of children at a hearing at Leeds Magistrates’ Court.

Hardcastle’s wife attended the sentencing hearing at Leeds Crown Court and was described by the judge as a ‘treasure’ for standing by him.

Judge Rodney Jameson QC said rehabilitation in Hardcastle’s case is “a realistic prospect”.

“Whoever you were and the fact that you had the profession that you did prior to this offending makes no odds. Having the responsibility that you had means that the offending is to that extent more serious even than it might otherwise have been.”

The judge added: “Make sure you make it very plain to your wife that you appreciate what she’s done by standing by you. That woman is a treasure.”

Hardcastle was handed a two-year community order with requirements to undertake the Horizon programme for sex offenders and complete 30 rehabilitation activity days.

He was also ordered to sign the sex offenders register for five years and made subject to a five-year sexual harm prevention order.