Saturday, January 05, 2013

Paedophile caretaker lived in school cupboard with nearly 4,000 indecent images of children

A primary school caretaker who admitted possessing nearly 4,000 indecent images of children lived in a cupboard at the school where he worked, a court heard. Gavin Clark, 41, was site manager at Eaton Primary School, Norwich, when he was arrested last July. Police found the indecent images on a laptop computer, memory stick and SD card after searching a cupboard at the school where Clark had been sleeping. Judge Mark Lucraft jailed Clark for 12 months at Norwich Crown Court. The court heard Clark, of no fixed address, was on sick leave from work last July.

He contacted a member of staff, saying that he had personal possessions at the school that he needed access to. Kevin Eastwick, prosecuting, said: "As a consequence, the headmaster Mr Portas became aware of a storage area Mr Clark was using as his own improvised bed, and other personal effects. "He had been using that as temporary accommodation." Police found 1,749 different indecent images, some of which had been duplicated across the laptop, memory stick and SD card, giving a total of 3,931 images. Of those, 484 were classified at level four and five at level five - the most serious categories of indecent images. More than 300 of those pictures showed children under 13.

Ian James, defending, said Clark had split up from his wife three years ago but the couple continued to live together, divorcing in spring last year. "He was effectively living in a cupboard at the school where he worked. That fact explains the possession of the material at that particular location," he said. "It's the fact that he was living there, staying there, that is the relevant consideration, rather than anything more sinister." Mr James said Clark was of previous good character and that arrest and prosecution had been an "extremely salutary lesson" for him. "He feels very conscious of the way in which he will be perceived by right-minded members of the public hereafter," he said.

In November Clark admitted three counts of possessing indecent images.  He claimed the images were on an SD card that he found outside the school and that he had not known their nature. He said he copied them unwittingly when transferring some other images from the SD card to the memory stick. Judge Lucraft said he was satisfied that Clark had not created or distributed the images, and gave him credit for his guilty plea. But he said the number of images in the most extreme categories was an aggravating factor. Jailing Clark for 12 months, he also passed a sexual offences prevention order.

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