May 2018

Soldier with indecent pictures blamed ‘isolation’ after killing of his nephew

A former soldier who had more than 2,500 indecent images of children admitted he could see ‘the fear’ in their eyes as they were abused.

Andrew Palmer had already admitted three counts of making indecent images of children when he appeared at Worcester Crown Court for sentence.

Police carried out a warrant at the home the 48-year-old shared with his parents in Bromyard Road, Tenbury Wells on November 10 last year.

Palmer is the uncle of Adrian Palmer, killed 10 years ago by Ben Murphy in Tenbury, and this led to the defendant’s feeling of isolation, the court heard.

Officers seized an iPad, mobile phone, computer towers and a disc drive from the defendant’s bedroom. Palmer had 260 images at category A, the most serious level.

Palmer, also had 437 category B images and 1,823 images at category C.

Palmer told a probation officer: “They’re children. They have no say. They are powerless to do anything about it. You can see the fear in their eyes and in their expressions.”

Paul Whitfield, prosecuting, said the images in the counts reflected the ‘minimum’ found by police as some were deleted or inaccessible.

Mr Whitfield said the images showed children as young as eight being abused.

He added: “Pertinently there were key word searches that clearly indicated he was actively searching for this sort of material between September and October 2016.”

Palmer, of previously good character, gave a no comment interview to police.

Edmund Middleton, defending, said Palmer joined the army at 16 and discharged himself following a tour of Bosnia in the mid 1990s, returning to the family home in 2000.

Mr Middleton described Palmer as having difficulties with literacy and told the court ‘there may be some learning difficulties’.

He added: “He has very little confidence or ability to form meaningful relationships, not just physical relationships but emotional relationships and friendships.

“He has been exceptionally isolated. One of the few friends he had was killed. There was a murder trial. His nephew was killed 10 years ago resulting in a manslaughter conviction which has accelerated Mr Palmer’s isolation.”

Mr Middleton said Palmer had pleaded guilty to making the indecent images at the first opportunity in the magistrates court and had been ‘candid to his detriment’.

Judge Jim Tindal said: “You show an unusual degree of insight by comparison to the middle aged men that end up time and time again end up standing where you’re standing for doing what you’ve done.

“You appreciate – many don’t – that what you did was to perpetuate the abuse of children, not directly yourself but because every time you click on these images you are encouraging a trade in the abuse of children all over the world.”

Palmer was given a community order for two years with 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days and 150 hours unpaid work.

A sexual harm prevention order was also made and Palmer must sign the sex offenders register for five years. He must also pay £250 towards prosecution costs. All devices where police found indecent images will be destroyed.