October 2016: Now living in Shrewsbury

May 2016

Sacked museum curator had ‘tens of thousands’ of indecent images

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The sacked curator of a Worcestershire museum and Former Tory councillor who stole an exhibit signed by Winston Churchill has been caught with “tens of thousands” of indecent images on his computer at home, a court heard.

The images of children was found by police who went to Neil Thorneywork’s home to arrest him for theft and fraud relating to the Broadway Tower museum near Evesham.

Thorneywork, aged 61, of Medway Road, Evesham, admitted 25 counts of having indecent images.

Judge Nicolas Cartwright, sitting at Worcester Crown Court, gave him a two-year community order, which will include structured activity to tackle his deviant interest.

The former curator at Broadway Tower was also ordered to pay £500 court costs and given a five-year sexual harm prevention order limiting his use of computers and contact with children.

Michael Conry, prosecuting, told the court that police went to his home to arrest Thorneywork in relation to matters dealt with by a previous court.

But officers saw him mouth to his wife to dispose of his USBs – and police later found tens of thousands of indecent images on his computer equipment.

They included 115 Category A images of children – the most serious kind – 105 Category B and 159 Category C.

Most were moving images and featured girls aged 11 to 13.

Judge Cartwright told Thorneywork the children on the images he had were victims of abuse, even though it might have happened on the other side of the world.

“Think how anyone would react if their wife, as a girl, their sister, their mother or their daughter, was abused to satisfy the demand of people like you,” added the judge.

But he said that, if he jailed Thorneywork, he would serve only a few months and a community order would address his offending.

In February, Thorneywork pleaded guilty to one charge of theft and one of fraud and was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay £1,750 compensation to Broadway Tower Country Park.

On that occasion, Worcester Crown Court was told that Thorneywork had been sacked from Broadway Tower in January last year, setting off a dispute with the managing director, Annette Gorton.

During his work there one of his tasks had been to take copies of a certificate of recommendation signed by Winston Churchill and presented to Albert Lowe, of the Royal Observer Corps, for his bravery in an air crash in the county in 1943.

But he took the exhibit. It has since disappeared and Thorneywork did not know where it was.

The earlier court hearing was also told that Thorneywork produced a receipt to persuade Miss Gorton that a bomb power indicator – a Cold War device for measuring the force of a nuclear explosion – on display at the museum belonged to him.

The museum then bought it back from him for £1,250 to keep it on show after he was sacked – but the receipt was found to be bogus.