Ex-school governor who imported child sex doll is jailed
A former school governor and church warden who imported a child sex doll has been jailed for 16 months.
David Turner, 72, admitted importing the child-size item and possessing 34,000 images of child sexual abuse.
An investigation began when the UK Border Force intercepted a package in November, imported from China.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) then discovered that Turner, of Ramsgate, Kent, had two other child sex dolls, and indecent images of children.
Turner was sentenced by Judge Simon James at Canterbury Crown Court for possessing a doll that was 3ft 10in (1.16m) tall, which he had also bought clothes for.
He was sentenced to eight months for owning the doll and eight months for possessing images of child sexual abuse.
He was officially convicted of one charge of importing a child sex doll, three charges of possession of indecent images of a child, three charges of making indecent images, and a charge of possessing extreme pornographic images.
In July, a court ruled the child sex doll was an obscene item, after Turner's lawyers had argued it was not covered by a law banning their importation.
Other men have been convicted for importing child sex dolls, but this was the first case where the question of whether a doll is indecent or obscene had been tested by the courts.
'Jail sentence inevitable'
Analysis: Danny Shaw, home affairs correspondent
What a terrible fall from grace for David Turner who until his arrest last November was a much-respected member of the Ramsgate community.
Even though he had no previous convictions a jail sentence was inevitable given the number of abuse images he'd amassed, including 138 of the most serious kind, and the need to send out a message to other people contemplating ordering child sex dolls.
Investigators believe it's a growing problem facilitated by the internet.
This week, Simon Bailey, the chief constable who leads on child protection for the National Police Chiefs' Council, said it wouldn't be long before there were virtual reality videos of child sexual abuse - and robots engineered for the task.
"Trust me, it will happen," he said.
In a police interview, Turner said he preferred viewing indecent images of girls aged between four and 10 and added he had secretly taken pictures of minors in public. Children in the images were as young as three.
He was placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years and given an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.
Officers also found that he had 29 fictional stories which described the rape of children, but the accounts fell outside the Obscene Publications Act.
The NCA's Hazel Stewart said: "Importing child dolls to have sex with - as David Turner did - is a crucial flag to potential offending against children.
"In this case it enabled us to uncover Turner's long-standing sexual interest in children. He should not be near them and I am delighted that our investigation has seen him convicted and jailed."
Turner is one of seven people in the UK to have been convicted for possessing the obscene dolls to-date.
The Border Force has seized 123 dolls from 120 individuals since March 2016.
They were convicted using a 19th Century law, called the Customs Consolidation Act of 1876.
The Crown Prosecution Service's Donna East said: "Given the nature of the offence, which is very much modern day, with people ordering these sex dolls online, it is perhaps surprising that we are using laws dating back to the end of the 19th century, but this demonstrates how the law can apply to many circumstances."
The NSPCC has complained that the dolls offer a "legal loophole" to potential child sex abusers, and has called for them to be criminalised in the same way as indecent images.
The charity's chief executive Peter Wanless said: "At present in England and Wales it is only illegal to import an obscene or indecent item. It is not a crime to make these dolls, to distribute them or to possess them.
"This is baffling and needs to be changed so that the law in relation to child sex dolls is brought in line with the law on prohibited images.
"I urge [the home secretary] to take swift action and remedy this issue at the earliest available opportunity."