A SCOUT leader has been jailed after indecent images of children were found on his mobile phone during a raid at a Hereford business.
David Brian Buckle appeared before Worcester Crown Court for sentencing on March 5 after pleading guilty to making, possessing, and distributing indecent and prohibited images between August 2019 and November 2020 before Hereford magistrates on February 3.
Police had descended on Hereford’s Foley Trading Estate on November 23 to execute a warrant at Hereford Radiators, prosecuting barrister Sharon Bahia told the court.
Officers informed staff that company computers had been used to upload indecent images of children to the internet, but when employees were asked to hand over their mobile phones, Buckle was reported to have gone white and started shaking.
When asked for his mobile phone, which was in a room upstairs, 49-year-old scoutmaster Buckle refused, and attempted to snap the device in half.
Examination of the two phones and a laptop seized from Buckle revealed evidence of an interest in indecent pictures in his browsing history and multiple pornographic images involving children.
In total, there were nine category A photographs, 25 category A videos, nine category B photographs, 36 category B videos, 24 category C photographs and seven category C videos, all involving children aged between three and 13.
“The same phone showed he had distributed images on chats he was having on messaging service, Kik,” Ms Bahia said.
“There were also three prohibited images which involved a child with no clothes on and a computer generated man.”
In interview, Buckle told police he had sent messages but would not have said they were indecent, and that he thought the children in the images were over 18.
“He said that he was a scout leader and that the phone was not really his. He said he had looked at adult pornography, and that he had reacted the way he did because he did not want to be caught with adult porn,” Ms Bahia said.
Messages on the phone showed Buckle boasting of having had sex with a 13 year old when he had been “a lot younger” and that he had shared images and videos with others.
The court heard from defence barrister Julia Needham that Buckle had sought help from a therapist after his arrest.
Delivering his verdict, Judge Nicholas Cartwright told Buckle the images showed real rapes and real sexual offences being committed against real children and that is was clear his conversations online had been boastful.
“This was not an exchange of images for shock value, or to let someone else know how ghastly they were. You thought you were satisfying their wish for sexual purposes.”
“As well as any physical harm that may arise and the inevitable psychological harm that is bound to follow, these victims will live the rest of their lives knowing that there are films and recordings of these offences being committed against them,” he said.
“That must be a heavy burden.”
Buckle, of Maidstone Close, Newton Farm, was jailed for a total of 18 months. He must also pay a surcharge.