Durham University scientist escapes jail
A scientist who secretly filmed hundreds of women and drew up a child sex abuse manual walked free from court after blaming his offending on his medication.
Former Durham University lecturer Dr Jeremy Richard Allington-Smith was given a community order after arguing he had developed hypersexuality, an inability to control impulses, and displayed increasingly obsessive behaviour while taking medication for Parkinson’s disease.
Allington-Smith, one of the country’s leading astrophysicists and associate director of a research facility developing instruments for space travel, did seek assistance from his own doctor to combat his impulses, but underplayed the extent of his activities.
Over a five year period he filmed women wearing short skirts and shorts in public and recorded some undressing using a camera phone underneath a door, Durham Crown Court heard.
He also downloaded a large number of images of children being sexually abused, as well as drawing similar sketches, and drew up a manual containing advice regarding the sexual abuse of children, featuring many of his own hand-drawn images.
Harry Hadfield, prosecuting, said it came to police attention after a student was asked by her landlady to sort through some rubbish to ascertain what material could be recycled and discovered a brown envelope containing a large number of his sketches.
Police searched Allington-Smith’s home and university office and found thousands of child abuse images he had downloaded as well as hand drawn scenes of child abuse and a ‘paedophile manual’, containing more than 4,000 sketch images of abuse.
Mr Hadfield said Allington-Smith’s ‘clandestinely’ filmed footage was found stored on a lap-top, including 360 moving clips taken as he surreptitiously filmed women around Durham city centre.
He resigned his post at the University in disgrace when his offending came to light.
When interviewed he admitted making the sketches, which he said he did not realise was illegal, claiming it was ‘victimless’ as no children were actually being abused.
He said he drew them in moments of ‘idleness’, for sexual gratification, while he claimed he could not ascertain the ages of the youngsters in the downloaded abuse images.
Allington-Smith, 59, subsequently admitted three counts each of making indecent images and possessing prohibited images of children. He also admitted possessing a paedophile manual, voyeurism and doing a series of acts outraging public decency.
Prior to the case, Brian Russell, representing the defendant, presented medical reports, research results and character references to Judge Christopher Prince.
Judge Prince said while acknowledging that the offending crossed the custody threshold, he could take the “exceptional course” of passing a non-custodial sentence.
He said: “It’s important the public realises why a man who has committed offences for which they would expect him to go directly to prison, isn’t going to go to prison today.”
Following ‘a brilliant academic career’ during which he has made ‘a major contribution’ in the field of astrophysics, the judge said the defendant appeared now ‘racked with remorse’ having willingly submitting himself for psychiatric help and counselling.
The judge said eminent physicians confirmed the potential side-effects of the medication taken by Allington-Smith, which, if carefully monitored, could be safely controlled to prevent any repeat of his hypersexual and impulsive behaviour.
Paedophile physicist who filmed young women up their skirts admits string of sexual offences
An ASTROPHYSICIST’S fall from grace was complete yesterday (Monday, October 10) when he admitted a string of sex offences including following young women and using a mobile phone to film under their skirts.
Dr Jeremy Allington-Smith, 59, outraged public decency by making the moving clips “almost exclusively” of unsuspecting women in short skirts over a five-year period, Durham Crown Court was told.
Police found more than 300 images, made mainly in Durham city centre, when a warrant was served at his home in the city in October last year.
Officers also found thousands of indecent images and moving clips of children on his domestic computer equipment.
The former Durham University academic, who has Parkinson’s Disease and walks with the aid of a stick, pleaded guilty to nine offences.
He admitted downloading 688 indecent still and moving images of children of the worst category, between July 2008 and October 2015, along with two similar charges relating to a further 2,453 indecent images.
Allington-Smith also admitted three charges relating to the possession of 1,818 prohibited images of children. The latter images include Japanese cartoon-type pictures and computer generated images, as well as copies of pictures found in a paedophile manual.
He also admitted possessing the manual, containing advice on how to abuse sexually children.
And he pleaded guilty to a charge of voyeurism in July 2013 when, “for the purposes of sexual gratification”, he recorded a woman doing a private act without her knowledge.
Allington-Smith further admitted outraging public decency, between September 2009 and September 2014, for a series of acts of a “lewd, obscene or disgusting nature” by taking images up women’s skirts without their knowledge.
He denied a tenth count of attempting to take indecent photographs of children in March 2011 – a charge which will be left on file.
Referring to a summary of the state’s case, Judge Christopher Prince said: “There are 360 moving image clips taken from a smart phone or small camera being held down low as the defendant walks along the street – almost exclusively of young women wearing short skirts . . . in shops or walking up the steps.”
The judge placed Allington-Smith on the sex offenders’ register with immediate effect and adjourned the case for sentencing on January 20.
The former academic was granted bail with stringent conditions on his use of the internet and he was banned from using any device capable of taking images outside of his own home.