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14 May 2010, 13:06 | Updated: 8 July 2010, 15:56
A Cheltenham man has been jailed for three years for indecently assaulting a child and possessing thousands of indecent images of children.
35 year old Benjamin Clay, who worked as a primary school teacher, was convicted of two counts of indecent assault on a 13 year old child, one count of Indecency with a child under the age of 16 years (same victim), three counts of making an indecent image of a child and one count of possession of 189,308 indecent images of children.
He was also convicted of perverting the course of justice.
Clay was initially arrested in November 2009 following intelligence provided from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, who had been monitoring online child abuse image offences.
Detective Inspector Mark Little heads the Child Protection Unit at Gloucestershire Constabulary, he says;
“Our priority is to protect children who are some of the most vulnerable members of our community.
“This investigation highlights the excellent close working with our partner agencies in Gloucestershire. The Constabulary, Gloucestershire County Council and Schools shared information, made appropriate decisions and acted quickly to protect children.
“Our Child Protection Unit has a dedicated Internet Investigations Unit that work in partnership to share information.
“Their dedication and professionalism, whilst dealing with such disturbing material, is a credit to the Constabulary.”
Following local media coverage of the initial prosecution in respect of ‘indecent images of children’, a member of the public bravely contacted the police to report sexual abuse that had happened to her as a child between 1997 and 1999.
D/Insp Mark Little added;
“This case highlights the links between possessing indecent images of children and sexual offences against children.
“I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the courage of this woman in coming forward.
“We hope this case shows we take all reports of this nature extremely seriously, irrelevant of when they were committed and we will do all we can to ensure the offenders are brought to justice.”
Jane Bee, the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) in Gloucestershire said;
“This has been a difficult and sad case for all involved.
“However, it has highlighted how well agencies in Gloucestershire work together, following well established procedures to ensure that the risks to children are identified and acted upon at the earliest opportunity.”