July 2017

Ex-police child protection officer caught with sex abuse images just a year after being spared jail


An ex-police child protection officer faces prison for possessing paedophile material – just a year after being spared jail for the same sick offence.

Depraved Robert Branney, 70, was exposed when he was given a suspended sentence last year for looking at images of child abuse.

A court heard he lived an online fantasy life in chat rooms and webcams, inventing a daughter and granddaughter to fuel his discussions with “like-minded” men.

Just 14 months later the former Devon and Cornwall cop was back in court this week where he pleaded guilty to new offences, some in the most severe category.

Branney, who retired 15 years ago after 28 years service, admitted committing the vile crimes at the time of his previous court appearance in May 2016.

He pleaded guilty to making 25 images and one video rated Category A – the worst ranking.

He also admitted making 36 Category B images and 197 in Category C.

Plymouth magistrates court heard that the offences took place between March 30 and June 21 last year.

In May last year Branney was given a suspended jail sentence after he admitted possessing and making indecent images of children and possessing extreme animal porn.

The girls featured in the images found on his laptop appeared between six and eight years old. Two of the images involved penetrative sexual activity.

During sentencing at the time, Judge Christopher Harvey Clark said Branney “obtained excitement by indulging in sexual fantasies online” and through chat rooms.

He told Branney: “I have asked myself how you could sink so low; you who were a child protection police officer.

“No greater punishment can be passed by me than for you to see a mug shot of yourself on the front page of the local paper – with ‘child porn’ and ‘ex-child protection police officer’ linked together.”

Branney, of St. Austell, Cornwall, was sentenced to eight months’ in prison, suspended for a year.

He will be sentenced for his latest offences at Truro Crown Court on August 25.

He was released on conditional bail and ordered to sign the Sex Offender Register by District Judge Diana Baker at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court.

May 2016

Retired police officer found with child sex images

A retired police officer whose role involved protecting children from abuse was found in possession of indecent images of children as young as six being raped

Robert Branney, formerly of Devon and Cornwall Police,  said he was addicted to the images, and also admitted having an image of a sex act with a dog.

The 69-year-old has been handed an eight-month suspended jail sentence at Truro Crown Court.

Judge Christopher Harvey Clark said he had brought shame on his family.

The judge him asked how he could “sink so low” and said he should leave the court “with your head bowed in shame”.

Branney, of Treverbyn Gardens, St Austell, Cornwall, admitted possessing indecent images of children, making an indecent image, and possessing an extreme image portraying a sexual act with an animal.

The court heard Branney had been a police officer for 28 years, and spent four years working in child protection, helping to protect children from sexual abuse from adults.

Nigel Hall, prosecuting, said Branney, who retired in 2001, had “too much time on his hands”.

As well as viewing the images, he visited chat rooms to talk to other offenders before his arrest in August last year.

When police visited him, Branney said “I know why you’re here”.

The officers said “why?” and he replied “child pornography”.

Police inspected his laptop computer and found images and a film in the most severe category A which showed young children being raped by adults

He told police he “dreamt of getting rid of it all” but it was like an addiction.