October 2012

Stephen Holmes, former portfolio holder for children’s services at Hertfordshire County Council, jailed for posssessing 400,000 indecent images

A senior Hertfordshire politician, who held a role overseeing children’s services, has been jailed after being found in possession of more than 400,000 indecent images of children.

Stephen Holmes, 61, was sentenced to 10 months in custody at St Albans Crown Court today after admitting 23 counts of possessing indecent images and videos including thousands at level five, the most serious abuse.

The massive cache of images was accumulated over a period of 12 years by Holmes, who resigned as deputy portfolio holder for children’s services at Hertfordshire county council and as a Dacorum borough councillor following his arrest.

Harry Bentley, for Holmes, told the court his client had never sought to abuse his position or gain access to children.

He said: “This is a man with a problem, not a persistent sex offender.

“A somewhat pathetic individual locking himself in a room on his own.”

The images were discovered on computer equipment in his Woodhall Farm home in May by police investigating online activity.

The politician, who was also a Dacorum Borough Councillor in Hemel Hempstead and the former mayor of the borough.

Holmes, of Dickens Court, Hemel Hempstead was also handed an indefinite sex offenders prevention order limiting his internet access by Judge John Plumstead.

September 2012

Former County councillor Stephen Holmes pleads guilty to possesion of indecent images of children

A disgraced Hertfordshire County Councillor has pleaded guilty to possessing indecent images of children on his computer.

Stephen Holmes, 60, appeared at St Albans Magistrates Court this morning to admit to 23 offences relating to the making and possession of indecent images (21 relating to children and two relating to extreme pornography).

He was arrested at his Woodhall Farm home in May, at the time Holmes was deputy portfolio holder for children’s services at the county council.

The Tory, who was also a Dacorum Borough Councillor in Hemel Hempstead and the former mayor of the borough, resigned from both councils prior to his arrest.

He is due to be sentenced on October 15.

A spokesman for Hertfordshire County Council said Holmes would have undergone an extended CRB check as part of his job.

The spokesman added: “It is a criminal matter so it is likely any investigation will remain in the hands of the police.

“As far as I’m aware none of the criminal activity took place on county council property or using county council equipment.”

Conservative Mr Holmes, who has lived in the area for more than 30 years and owned a computer shop in the old town for 12 years, was mayor of Dacorum from 2009 to 2010.

Before stepping down after his arrest he served as a borough councillor for nine years and as a county councillor he was deputy cabinet member for children’s services and vice chairman of the children’s services cabinet panel.