January 2018

Former teacher and councillor jailed for sharing indecent images of children with Sleaford man

A 42-year-old former primary school teacher shared indecent images of children with a Sleaford Town Councillor has been jailed for two years and nine months after being found guilty of making and distributing thousands of indecent images of children (IIOC).

National Crime Agency officers arrested Matthew Sephton, also a former Trafford Councillor representing Altrincham, in December 2016 and seized his phones and computer.

Forensic examination of the devices showed that Sephton had searched for and downloaded thousands of IIOC, some of which were in the worst category possible for sexual abuse.

Minshull Street Crown Court heard on one of his phones was a chat application through which Sephton was a member of various groups dedicated to sharing child abuse images.

Also recovered was a series of messages on What’sApp and Facebook Messenger between Sephton and former Sleaford Town Councillor and RAF Wing Commander Richard Willis, in which the pair exchanged multiple child abuse images and discussed their sexual preferences.

Willis, 51, of Cuthbert Close, Quarrington, admitted three charges of distributing indecent images of children; two charges of making indecent images of children; and a further charge of taking indecent images of children and in June 2017 was jailed for 16 months and placed on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years. He was also given a 10-year sexual harm prevention order.

Sephton, of Maximus Drive, Altrincham, denied the charges against him and claimed that a man named ‘Tom’ was responsible for downloading the images and sending the messages. Despite extensive enquiries by the NCA investigation team, the existence of ‘Tom’ was never proved.

Today (Friday) at Minshull Street Crown Court, Sephton was found guilty of six counts of making, possessing and distributing indecent images of children and was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison.

He will also be placed on the sex offenders register for life.

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