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20 October 2012, 09:22
A former Hemel Hempstead mayor has been jailed for 10 months for having child pornography on his computer.
Stephen Holmes, 61 of Dickens Court served as mayor of Hemel Hempstead between 2009 and 2010.
He was also a school governor.
As a borough councillor conservative county councillor had held a post as deputy cabinet member for children's services.
A court heard how over 16 years and while he was held in high esteem by his local community he began collecting indecent images of children.
They included still and movie clips - some the court heard were of the very worst and depraved kind.
In all he amassed more than 400,000 still images and over 2000 movie clips.
St Albans crown court was told Holmes, described by his own barrister as a man with a tendency to horde had meticulously catalogued his collection which he had down loaded from the internet.
He had created 'files' for the sick material giving each a title and a brief description of the abuse depicted.
Holmes, a married man, appeared for sentence having been convicted at West Herts Magistrates court of 18 offences of making indecent photo of children, two offences of possessing indecent photos of children, possessing an indecent image of a child and two offences of possessing extreme pornography which the court heard featured bestiality.
Jan Hayne prosecuting said when they went to his home on May 8 this year he was at home and when asked by an officer "Do you have any knowledge of indecent images of children being accessed over the internet?" he asked if he could have five minutes to speak to his wife.
Allowed to talk to her he then came back to the police officer present and told them "Yes I do."
Officers took away his computer equipment and it was discovered he had carefully organised his collection with title names and information about the sordid material shown.
Harry Bentley defending said Holmes who had run a computer shiop in Hemel Hempstead was a hoarder by nature who in the past had collected vacuum cleaners and even wood.
He said Holmes had downloaded material from the internet and had not shared it with anyone else.
"Put simply this offending smacks of a lonely, pathetic individual in a darkl room alone," he said
Judge John Plumstead QC jailed Holmes for 10 month and made him the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order which forbids him from working with children, accessing porn on the internet or having any software on his computer which hides the history of sites he has visited.