September 2016

Devon charity worker swapped child abuse images with paedophiles


A charity fundraiser from Devon with a secret addiction to child abuse images and stories obsessed with images of child sexual abuse involving boys as young as five was caught when three different police forces discovered he was sharing material with other paedophiles.

Paul Smith lived a double life in which he held down a responsible job as a manager of a charity in Bridgwater and lived with his partner at a home in a Devon village.

Nobody had any idea of his secret obsession with boys as young as five until the National Crime Agency and police forces in Hampshire and Merseyside tipped off the Devon and Cornwall force.

They discovered he had been sharing images and movies showing serious abuse of boys aged five to ten for up to 15 years with a network of other men.

Smith worked as the South West Community Manager for Brainwave, which runs a centre in Bridgwater, and had organised a series of high profile fundraising events around the region.

Smith, aged 54, of Dunns Court, Holcombe Rogus, near Tiverton, admitted one count of distributing, three of making and one of possessing indecent images of children.

He was jailed for 18 months, suspended for two years and ordered to receive two years supervision by Recorder Mr Philip Mott, QC, at Exeter Crown Court.

He ordered him to sign on the sex offenders’ register for ten years and made him subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order which will allow the police to monitor his use of the internet in the future.

He told him:”You are a man of positive good character who has glowing references including those from people who have observed you inter reacting with children entirely properly.

“I also take into account the steps you have taken, which are entirely genuine and properly motivated, to address your offending, which date from the moment these offences came to light.”

Miss Caroline Bolt, prosecuting, said Smith was tracked down because he was exchanging images and sharing sexual fantasies about boys with other men who shared his interest.

The National Crime Agency, and police in Merseyside and Hampshire all identified him as someone who was distributing or sharing images.

Police raided his home and seized two laptops and an iPhone from his office and he admitted he had been obtaining images or movies for up to 15 years.

Miss Bolt said:”He described himself as being addicted to child abuse images and to stories of abuse and was sexually attracted to boys aged five to ten.

“He realised he had a problem in 2013 or 2014 and started to delete images but still went to chat sites to talk about his fantasies and was often sent images that he deleted.”

She said he had a total of 379 images or movies on the devices seized by police including 86 stills and one movie in the worst category, which shows very serious abuse of children by adults.