North West Wales

Child porn: Abergele businessman John Alan Palmer jailed

A businessman who built up a £30m company has been jailed for two years after police found a hoard of child sex abuse images on computers.

John Alan Palmer, 49, of Abergele, Conwy, was arrested after leading police on two high-speed car chases.

Mold Crown Court also heard how Palmer cut himself with a knife as he was arrested.

He admitted 18 charges of possessing and distributing indecent pictures of children, and dangerous driving.

Judge Niclas Parry said Palmer had an unhealthy interest in young girls and in "extreme abuse" of them.

"You now understand that what you were viewing for your own sexual gratification was actually happening to young children," Judge Parry told him.

The court heard that police raided Palmer's home in July after being alerted by the online child protection agency.

Officers discovered more than 400 images, including nine at the most serious level of abuse.

They also discovered emails in which Palmer claimed to have been involved in abuse himself, something that the prosecution accepted were "fantasies that he was playing in a game of one-upmanship".

Taser gun

He defendant was arrested only after two car chases through mid Wales and Shropshire.

The first chase in the Llandrindod Wells area of Powys had to be abandoned because of police concern for the safety of other road users.

Later the car was seen on the Oswestry by-pass and there was a further chase.

The defendant stopped when a stinger device was used to deflate his tyres and he had to be stunned with a Taser gun after he started cutting himself with a craft knife.

Richard Thomas, defending, said he had lost everything he had built up over 30 years.

The court heard that Palmer had run a global manufacturing company with a £30m turnover and he had travelled to America, Canada and throughout Europe.

Mr Thomas said Palmer's wife had now divorced him, and his daughter would no longer speak to him.

In addition to a two-year jail term, Palmer was also ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years and he was made the subject of a 10-year sexual offences prevention order.