January 2018

The ‘shameful’ fall from grace for RAF veteran exposed as a paedophile

AN RAF veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq is now living on the streets after a “shameful” fall from grace that saw him exposed as a paedophile.

Mark Lenthall, 49, who is pictured posing proudly in front of a Phantom fighter-bomber, had been having “distorted thoughts”, but ignored his commanding officer’s advice to seek service psychiatric help, Hull Crown Court heard.

He was later discharged from the RAF on medical grounds.

Richard Thyne, prosecuting, said police visited Lentall’s then home on January 17 last year and arrested him for possession of indecent photographs, seizing two laptops and a memory stick.

Lenthall, a father and grandfather, was interviewed before the devices were examined and volunteered the information there would be indecent images of children on them, and “indicated to the police where they would be found”. He said he had “received them from others”.

He also told police he had performed a sex act in front of a webcam viewed by a female who said she was 18, but then said she was 14 and he had “continued”. This confession was the sole evidence police had for that crime.

Lenthall, of no fixed address, admitted engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, three offences of making indecent images, and one of possessing an extreme pornographic image. He had no previous convictions.

In total, he had 21 indecent images at category A – the most serious, 15 at category B, 37 category C images, and three extreme images.

Referring to a pre-sentence report, Judge Jeremy Richardson QC said: “It makes extraordinarily unhappy reading. He served this country in Afghanistan and Iraq and life has gone very badly wrong for him.”

“Yes,” said Richard Thompson, for Lenthall.

“I’m not eager to send him to prison, but it warrants a prison sentence,” said the judge.

“What worries me, however, is he is homeless, he’s sleeping in perfectly ghastly circumstances in Bridlington.”

Mr Thompson said: “He’s on the waiting list for accommodation, for the hostel where he goes for his meals. Employers won’t take him on unless he’s got an address and he can’t get an address unless he’s got money to pay for it.

“He’s reasonably confident once these proceedings are behind him and he’s got accommodation, he will find work.”

Sentencing Lenthall, who was arrested at his then Bridlington home, to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, Judge Richardson told him: “It is a very great sadness to see a man like you who served his country in the dock of the Crown court on charges such as this. It is shameful.

Lenthall must attend a sex offenders programme and undergo rehabilitation, as well as appearing before the judge for regular reviews. The judge told him: “I warn you, one step out of line and it will be prison.”

Lenthall must register as a sex offender for ten years and was made subject to a sexual harm prevention order for the same period.

November 2017

Man caught with animal porn and child abuse images

A Bridlington man has admitted possessing animal porn and child abuse images.

Mark Lenthall, 49, was caught with a total of 132 indecent images of children on his laptop as well another 56 on a memory stick seized from his home address after his arrest in January.

Details relating to the charges he faced indicate he could have had the images for nearly four years before he was caught.

Police also found three “extreme pornographic images” of obscene sex acts with animals.

Prosecutor Andrew Vaughan told Beverley Magistrates Court the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have yet to decide whether Lenthall should face a further charge of sexual activity in the presence of a child.

Lenthall will be sentenced at Hull Crown Court later this month.

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