July 2016

Former police officer says his ‘morbid interest’ in possessing indecent images of children developed through his job

A former police officer has pleaded guilty to possessing indecent images of children.

Shaun Ballinger, 48, of Glassworks Cottages, Newport, admitted having nine category A images, 16 category B images and 11 category C images at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Category A is the most serious.

Prosecutor Simon Clements said Ballinger, who had been a detective constable, was still a serving officer with Gwent Police when the images were downloaded on his computer.

The 36 pictures were found on his PC when his home was searched by police on June 28 this year.

Initially Ballinger denied any knowledge of the images, saying he had no interest in such images.

“He said he was unsure if anyone else had access to the router,” Mr Clements said.

Police also discovered file cleaning software on his computer.

“That had been run across the computer on at least four occasions,” Mr Clements said.

Attending the police station on July 1, Ballinger admitted the images were his and claimed the majority of images he had used was of adults.

The court heard Ballinger told police in interview: “I was exposed to images at work and developed a morbid interest.”

The detective constable left Gwent Police when he retired on medical grounds after more than 28 years service.

Representing himself, Ballinger told the court he “had an interest in these matters for a short period.”

He said there had been “no further downloads of that type.”

“I have moved on from that morbid interest but it does not justify what I did do,” he said.

He said he was “thoroughly ashamed” and had been trying “to save my marriage.”

“I am not a coward and have to accept what I did,” Ballinger told the court.

“I ask you, if you could possibly deal with me here, I feel that would assist me so I can get on with other aspects of my life.”

The magistrates declined and sent the matter to Cardiff Crown Court .

Ballinger is due to be sentenced on August 9.