August 2006

Paramedic jailed after internet child abuse images sting

An Isleworth paramedic who spent his off-duty hours downloading child abuse images in the home he shared with his wife and daughter was jailed for eight months last Friday.

Picked up by the police initiative Operation Inkerman through the use of his credit card, Derek Frederick Dredge, 49, of Feltham Hill Road, Ashford, admitted 14 charges of making indecent photographs of children and two of possession of 441 indecent images of children.

At Isleworth Crown Court Judge Jonathan Lowen told him: “These are serious offences because the purchase of such material fuels an industry based on the abuse of children. The degradation of the children which you saw abused must have been apparent to you because of your training and calling as a paramedic.”

Although only a few of the images were in the most serious and explicit categories, the judge said even those in the least serious categories involved the posing of children and were “particularly objectionable”.

Dredge, who’s daughter is still in her teens, was stationed at the Isleworth ambulance station until his arrest in December 2003 when police seized two hard drives from computers found at his home.

Officers reconstructed websites referring to paedophile material under titles such as Lolita, Pre-teens and Girls 10-15, prosecutor Rosemary Burns told the court.

Following a lengthy and delayed investigation in January this year he admitted viewing sites and downloading images.

His counsel, Stephen Bevan, said he had not passed on any of the images but simply “clicked on them to view them”.

On his release Dredge will remain on licence for an extended period of one year, be subject to the sex offenders’ register and banned from contact with children or computers for the next five years.