November 2009

Teacher ‘obsessed’ with child porn wins police visits appeal

A PRIVATE tutor who admitted being “obsessed” with child porn has successfully appealed against a court order allowing police to enter his home to check on him.

Police found 30,000 indecent images of children after they seized computers from Godfrey Lightning’s home in Silverburn Drive, Oakwood.

In July, the 65-year-old was spared jail by Judge Granville Styler at Derby Crown Court after admitting 15 charges of possessing and making indecent images of children, committed between March 2007 and October 2008.

He had already served two months in custody and was instead handed a three-year supervision order.

Lightning was ordered to complete a community sex offenders’ group work programme and an indefinite Sexual Offences Prevention Order was also imposed.

His appeal yesterday at London’s Criminal Appeal Court was against the Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

Michael Cranmer-Brown, for Lightning, argued that the terms of the order – which entitled police officers to enter his home whenever they liked to check that he is not using his computer inappropriately – were “draconian”.

“He is a very chastened man, not some recidivist paedophile who keeps doing the same thing again and again,” the barrister added.

Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court together with Mrs Justice Rafferty and Mr Justice Henriques, heard Lightning had advertised in Yellow Pages as an academic tutor.

They were told it was only after he was said to have made an “inappropriate” comment to a prospective female pupil that officers swooped on his home.

Police found images of children as young as five or six on his computer and backed up on discs. After his arrest he admitted to being “obsessed” with child porn.

Lord Judge said: “I’m not overwhelmed with sympathy for him – he has been looking at this stuff for years.

“He would have been handed a nine-month jail term had he not already served time on remand and on a tag by the time he was sentenced,” Mr Justice Henriques added.

But Mr Justice Henriques allowed the appeal, varying the terms of the order so that the hours when police are entitled to call at his home are now restricted.

Following the appeal hearing, a Derbyshire police spokesman said: “We work with the probation service to monitor sexual offenders in the community. Sexual Offences Prevention Orders require the person to register as a sexual offender and can include conditions, for example to prevent the offender from going near schools or playgrounds.

“If the offender fails to comply with the order, they can be taken back to court and could face up to five years’ imprisonment.

“We will continue to monitor Godfrey Lightning as we do all sexual offenders.”