Alan Willis – Seaham/Middlesbrough

November 2018

County Durham conman convicted of downloading photos

BONKERS EXCUSE: Alan Willis was told his story of computer viruses was ‘ludicrous’

A conman who was jailed for leaving businesses on the verge of bankruptcy and people penniless and homeless has been back in court for making a “library” of indecent images of children.

Police found the sick photographs after seizing computer devices from the County Durham home he shared with his elderly mother, as officers investigated the nationwide fraud in 2015.

Alan Willis, 58, was jailed for seven years this February after being found guilty at Teesside Crown Court of 23 charges of fraud, using a false instrument and perverting the course of justice.

The court heard that he had left in his wake a trail of disasters in County Durham, Nottingham and Liverpool with his “callous” crimes.

Willis’s barrister claimed he was an honest businessman who wanted to make money for himself and those he dealt with, and he continues to maintain his innocence.

He also refuses to accept that the 137 indecent images discovered on his lap-top, hard-drive and USB memory stick had anything to do with him – and they had got there because of a computer virus from India.

Prosecutor Paul Newcombe described the explanation as “bonkers and utterly ludicrous” as he made his closing speech to the jury of nine women and three men yesterday, and accused Willis of “trying it on”.

The defendant initially told police he was the only person with access to his devices, which were next to his bed and in his office, where he was a director for a company called Staplecross Joint Ventures.

He later claimed colleagues could have used his computer, but refused to name any who investigators could speak to.

Willis, formerly of Woodlands, Seaham, and Clarendon Road, Middlesbrough, was given three-month prison sentences to run concurrently after being found guilty of two charges of making indecent images of children. Mr Newcombe told the jury: “I am asking you to find the defendant guilty on very strong, if not overwhelming, evidence. In fact, the defendant is swimming against a a vast tide of compelling evidence.

“The images could not have got there by accident. Whatever else is going on on the internet, with Russian hackers, I have never heard yet that there is anyone out there accessing this.”

When he was sentenced for the frauds, Judge Tony Briggs told him: “It is quite clear you are a dangerous fraudster – manipulative, devious and on the evidence if this case, callous.

“You are ready and willing to engage in fraudulent conduct, and when one looks at this catalogue of offending, it is quite clear you have been at it again. “

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