January 2017

Richmond heir hunter jailed after continuing to download indecent images of children

A GENEALOGIST who finds missing heirs has been jailed because he cannot stop downloading indecent images of children.

David Leonard Eugene Gaertner, 64, defied more than one court order and continued his crimes despite completing a lengthy rehabilitation course aimed at stopping his perverted actions, York Crown Court heard.

He used internet techniques to try and hide what he was doing from police who were regularly checking his online activities, Rob Galley, prosecuting, told the court.

Gaertner, of Castle Wynd, Richmond, North Yorkshire, is a founder of the Federation of Probate and Asset Researchers Ltd and together with his wife set up Wishbone Family Research.

He pleaded guilty to one offence of downloading indecent images between March 31, 2014 and March 22, 2016 and one of having extreme pornography.

In April 2014, he was given an eight-month prison sentence suspended for two years for having and distributing indecent images and having extreme pornography.

Jailing him for 20 months including four of the eight months previously suspended, Judge Andrew Stubbs QC told Gaertner: “It is plain to this court you simply cannot help yourself.”

The judge said he was particularly concerned that Gaertner believed that some of the child victims in the indecent images and videos he downloaded were enjoying what was being done to them.

In addition to the prison sentence, Gaertner was put on the sex offenders’ register for ten years and made subject to a sexual harm prevention order indefinitely making him subject to police monitoring of his online activity indefinitely.

Mr Galley said Gaertner had downloaded two illegal photographs while on bail for the earlier offences and had also accessed two illegal videos while subject to the suspended sentence and a sexual offences prevention order aimed at stopping his crimes.

Forensic computer experts also found 600 deleted indecent images of children on his computer as well as search terms indicating he had searched for images of children being sexually abused and had stored some images on iCloud rather than on his computer to hide them.

His activities were uncovered during routine police checks on him.

For Gaertner, Holly Betke said he had “deep-seated” problems related to when he himself was abused as a child and for which he needed psychiatric help.

But the court couldn’t order him to do that. He felt he had made progress in dealing with his illegal desires under the suspended sentence.

November 2016

David Gaertner told to expect jail for latest offences

A SEX offender continued his sex crimes despite being subject to a suspended prison sentence, probation supervision and a court order aimed at curbing his behaviour, York Crown Court heard.

David Leonard Eugene Gaertner, 64, admitted possessing indecent pictures and videos of children between March 31, 2014, and March 22, 2016.

He also admitted possessing extreme pornography between October 10, 2013 and March 22, 2016.

A judge has told him he may now be jailed.

On April 30, 2014, he received a suspended prison sentence including supervision by the probation service and rehabilitative activities, was made subject to a sexual offences prevention order and was put on the sex offenders’ register, after admitting earlier offences involving indecent images of children.

After his latest guilty pleas the Honorary Recorder of York, Judge Paul Batty QC, told him to expect prison.

He said: “I am sure you understand with your record, particularly with a suspended sentence for similar offending, a custodial sentence is highly likely.”

He adjourned sentence until January 5 so probation officers could prepare a report on how Gaertner had responded to their work with him since his first sentence, and released him on bail.

York Crown Court heard he had two videos and one picture showing sexual abuse of children of the most serious category and one picture of the least serious kind showing a child being sexually abused.

He also had two identical images of extreme pornography.