June 2017

Witham ex-charity director with ‘glittering’ career fined for downloading hundreds of illicit images

A Witham father with a once “glittering” career as a charity director has been spared jail after downloading hundreds of illicit images of children.

Having investigated the online activity of Keith Rivers, 49 formerly of Halfacres, police raided his home on April 8, 2015, with him, his wife and two children present.

They seized two computers containing 296 illegal images downloaded between 2009 and 2015, 56 of which fall into Category A — the most serious classification for indecent material.

The former management consultant was handed an eight-month suspended jail term, 280 hours of unpaid work and a £750 fine at Chelmsford Crown Court on Wednesday (June 7) for three counts of making indecent images and one of possessing prohibited images.

Rivers was a director at the education charity, Tower Hamlets Summer University, and led this year’s House of Lords special committee report into financial exclusion, but he is now jobless and £32,500 in debt.

Rivers entered a not guilty plea on October 26, leading to a trial date being set, but he admitted his guilt after receiving an expert report on his case.

The delay before his guilty plea meant costs to the Crown Prosecution Service totalled £1,200, but Judge Jonathan Seely imposed a fine of only £750 because of the defendant’s financial problems.

The judge revealed he was “only just persuaded” by the mitigation to suspend the prison sentence.

Handing it down, he said: “I am not convinced that your remorse relates principally to the victims, as opposed to feeling sorry about the position you now find yourself in.

“This kind of offending is extremely serious. It has a dreadful impact on the young victims concerned.

“A man with your intelligence and understanding of the world should have known that. As a father, you knew what you were doing was deeply wrong.

“Your family are blameless victims of your offending. You have not only let yourself down, but you have let them down very badly too.”

Rivers downloaded 56 images in Category A, 40 in Category B, 178 in Category C and 22 which were prohibited.

He was ordered to complete 15 days of rehabilitation and made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, while his prison sentence was suspended for two years.