Suspended prison sentence for former Exeter councillor who had thousands of child porn images

A former Labour councillor from Exeter has been handed a suspended prison sentence after being found with more than 36,000 indecent images of children and other extreme pornography.

Roger Spackman, aged 50, of College Road, was arrested at his home when officers seized 68 items including electronic devices, hard drives and mobile phones.

The illegal material found on them by officers spanned a decade.

Ex-city councillor Spackman admitted possessing and making indecent images and was today (Tuesday, July 28) sentenced to ten months in prison, suspended for two years, by a judge at Exeter Crown Court.

He was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register and is the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Spackman’s conviction follows a three-year investigation described as one the biggest of its kind conducted by Devon and Cornwall Police.

Officers from the force’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team swooped on Spackman’s home in 2017.

Electronic devices, hard drives and mobile phones – containing a total of nearly five million images and movies – were seized.

More than 36,000 indecent images of children, prohibited and extreme pornographic pictures were subsequently identified.

Specialist investigators spent more than 100 hours categorising the illegal material which dated from 2007 to 2017.

They identified 58 Category A images, the most severe, 49 Category B, and 27,520 Category C movies and pictures.

They also identified 8,682 prohibited pictures and 370 extreme pictures and movies.

Spackman was summonsed to court to face charges in June.

He pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited image of a child; possessing extreme pornographic images portraying a sexual act with an animal; and three counts of making an indecent photograph/pseudo-photograph of a child.

Detective Chief Inspector Rachael Bentley, from Devon and Cornwall Police’s Public Protection Unit, said: “This was both a complex and lengthy investigation and remains one of the largest visual media reviews we have seen in force with almost five million images and movies reviewed and 36,000 found to contain illegal material.

“DC Angela Thomas, the investigating officer, was supported by officers from the Paedophile Online Investigation Team and the SWF Data Forensic Unit to trawl through hours of disturbing imagery and categorise it based on the severity of the content.

“This can be hugely challenging for those involved in the case and understandably it can be very difficult to deal with.

“It is absolutely crucial that we don’t forget that these are not victimless crimes.

“Although Mr Spackman has not been convicted of taking photos of children himself, all of the children in these photos have at one stage and in some cases on multiple occasions been victims of abuse.

“Devon and Cornwall Police will continue to investigate these horrendous crimes in order to protect the vulnerable and bring offenders to justice.”

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