Nov 2004

Mum’s guilt at ‘family friend’s’ pix crimes

A mother has spoken of her feelings of guilt at allowing a man, who made indecent images on his computer of her daughter, to become a family friend.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was speaking out following the sentencing of Michael Garrod, 57, of The Willows, Colchester.

The former theatrical worker admitted last month at Chelmsford Crown Court to 17 counts of making and possessing indecent images of children.

He was sentenced earlier this week to a three-year rehabilitation order. He must attend a sex offenders’ programme and has been put on the sex offenders’ register.

Police found on his computer more than 800 indecent images, on many of which Garrod had superimposed the photos of young girls on to lurid adult images.

The mother of one of the girls, who is now 19, has spoken about the devastating effect the case had on her family.

She said: “Garrod had been a family friend for a long time and he got to know me and my children really well when my daughter was about six.

“He was always very knowledgeable, helpful and well respected and I am gutted there is this side to him we did not know that is absolutely unforgiveable.”

A spokesman for Colchester’s Mecury Theatre, confirmed Garrod had worked for it.

He said: “A former employee of the Mercury Theatre, John Garrod, has been convicted of making and possessing indecent images.

“Having been informed of the formal charges against Mr Garrod, the Mercury Theatre suspended him pending the outcome of the trial and he has since left the company. The charges against Mr Garrod were not connected with the work place in any way.”