Children's charity manager sentenced over child porn images

Exeter Crown Court Image copyright Google
Image caption Smith was sentenced on Thursday at Exeter Crown Court

A children's charity manager who shared child abuse images with other paedophiles has been given an 18-month suspended jail sentence.

Paul Smith, 54, from Devon, admitted sharing images showing serious abuse of boys with other men for up to 15 years.

He was also ordered to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years and was subjected to a a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.

Police seized devices from his home and office, a court heard.

Sentencing at Exeter Crown Court on Thursday, recorder Philip Mott, QC, said Smith was "a man of positive good character who has glowing references including those from people who have observed you interacting with children entirely properly".

"I also take into account the steps you have taken, which are entirely genuine and properly motivated, to address your offending," he said.

'Secret life'

Defending, Mark Jackson said Smith had resigned from his fundraising job at the charity Brainwave, which helps support children with additional need, and had taken courses to address his addiction to illegal images.

"He was effectively living a secret life which was restricted to the office at his home, a home he has shared with his partner for 25 years without them having any idea about what he was looking at," Mr Jackson said.

Prosecutor Caroline Bolt said Smith, of Dunns Court, Holcombe Rogus, had described himself as being "sexually attracted to boys aged five to 10".

Devon and Cornwall Police found 379 images or films on two laptops seized from his home and an iPhone taken from his office, the court heard.

The force had been tipped off about his activities by the National Crime Agency and and police in Merseyside and Hampshire.

Smith pleaded guilty in July to one count of distributing indecent images of children, three counts of making such images and one count of possessing them.

His sentence was suspended for two years.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites