April 2009

Councillor jailed over gun and child porn

A councillor was jailed for six years yesterday after police found an illegal gun and child pornography at his home.

Officers were called to Wigan Town Hall after being told that Joseph Shaw had been caught with indecent images of children on his home computer.

A search was conducted at his home in Avondale Street, Standish, where nearly 2,000 indecent photographs were discovered on his PC, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

A Smith & Wesson revolver with ammunition was also found in a safe in his bedroom.

During interviews, Shaw claimed he downloaded the images by mistake and the gun had been given to him 20 years ago by a man he only knew as Bill.

He also claimed the ammunition had been given to him at a gun club and was not designed to be used in the recovered revolver.

Shaw, 42, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to 17 counts of possessing indecent images, including some classed as Level 5, which involves sadism.

Shaw also admitted possessing a prohibited weapon and ammunition without a certificate.

He was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for the firearm offence and an additional year for the indecent images.

A two-year jail term for the ammunition conviction will run concurrently.

Shaw, who subsequently resigned from Wigan Metropolitan Council, was also ordered to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years.

Detective Constable Phil White, of Wigan CID, said: “Shaw systematically collected hundreds of appalling images for his own sick ends.

“Each one of these images is the result of trauma and physical abuse meted out to the victims.

“These offences are shocking enough, but the fact that Shaw carried them out while serving the local community as a councillor is even worse.

“I also want to remind everyone that Greater Manchester Police takes offences like this extremely seriously and will do everything in our power to punish those who abuse children, or who view images of abused children.”