Former Labour Councillor Avoids Jail After Downloading 290,000 Indecent Images of Children
A former Labour Party councillor has avoided serving time in prison, after being handed a suspended sentence for downloading over 290,000 indecent images of children from an illegal online chat network.
Roger Spackman (50), who was a Labour councillor on Exeter City Council until he was arrested in 2017, was found to have 290,672 indecent images of children across 68 devices. Dozens of the pictures depicted children being raped, with dozens more showing non-penetrative sexual activity with children—thousands more featured children in sexual poses.
The pictures featured girls as young as seven years old and many of pre-teen age. Spackman was found to have searched on the internet for keywords such as “pre-teen, tiny teen, under-age, kids’ bras, and Lolita”, according to the local news outlet DevonLive.
There were also pictures of young girls that had male genitalia photoshopped in, so that they appeared to be performing sexual acts. Spackman had been working at a secure children’s home at the time he started collecting the child pornography.
The former Labour councillor pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images and two counts of possessing prohibited or extreme images. Spackman claimed that the abuse he suffered as a child was the motivating factor behind his paedophilic impulses.
Spackman will most likely avoid serving any time in prison, however, as he was handed a ten-month prison sentence, which was suspended for two years. That means that if he abides by the conditions of his sentence, he will remain free.
Judge Peter Johnson did mandate that Spackman be added to the sex offenders’ register as well as being given a sexual harm prevention order, which permits police to monitor his internet activities. The two conditions will be in place for ten years.
The paedophile will also be required to attend 40 days of rehabilitation services and pay a £420 in fees.
Announcing his ruling, Judge Johnson told the former Labour councillor: “You are of good character and have worked in the service of the public as a councillor. Your fall from grace has been dramatic.”
“Over approximately nine years you were receiving a large number of indecent images, the vast majority being category C images although there were a number at category A,” the judge said.
The judge added: “The reason for this appears to be that you were abused as a child and have demons that have possessed you. You have bared your soul to complete strangers to explain how [you] came to have these images.
“In essence, you were undertaking some form of therapeutic role-play in which others invited you to take the part of the victim and sent you indecent photographs to assist in the role play.”
“What is troubling is the huge and remarkable number of images,” Judge Johnson did go on to note.
The sentencing of Spackman comes as an investigation from Sky News revealed that over 900 convicted sex offenders have been able to avoid police surveillance by legally changing their names.
The process to change your name in Britain involves filling out a form online, which takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. Over 1,300 sex offenders have used this method of cloaking their identities from the public; however, they did go on to tell the police.
Emily Konstantas of the Safeguarding Alliance said: “When we first started looking into this, we couldn’t quite believe it. That’s why we started requesting FOIs (Freedom of Information requests). This is a flaw in the current legal system, and it’s a flaw that’s going to be exploited.”