March 2008

Ex-mayor’s child abuse images shame


A FORMER mayor and primary school teacher has been given a caution by police for possessing child abuse images.

Graham Pearson, 54, was arrested at his Cherry Crescent home in Balladen, Rawtenstall, on September 10 last year for having ‘indecent photographs, or pseudo-photographs, of children’.

He was bailed to return to Rawtenstall police station while officers considered whether charges should be brought against him.

But Mr Pearson, who is a former council leader, was formally cautioned when he attended his 1pm appointment today.

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “Lancashire Constabulary have given an adult caution to a 54-year-old man from the Rossendale area for possession of indecent photographs, or pseudo photographs, of children.

“The man was first arrested on September 10, 2007, at around 11.30am, at his home address.”

When asked about the caution last night, Mr Pearson said: “I have no comment to make.”

He did confirm, however, that he no longer worked as a teacher.

Mr Pearson went missing from his home on February 3, and police issued an appeal for his safe return. His silver Chevrolet car was also said to be missing But he was later discovered safe and well’ in the Cumbria area.

He was a Hareholme ward councillor until the summer 2004 elections and also served as Mayor of Rossendale in 1991/92.

For four years from 1985 he served as a Lancashire county councillor for Rossendale East ward, but stood down prior to the 1989 elections.

He was also a governor at Staghills Nursery and Newchurch CE Primary and, while mayor, worked as a teacher at a primary school in Oldham.

Under Coun Pearson, Labour regained control of Rossendale council in May 2002 after two years of Tory rule.

But the new administration quickly encountered problems after the Audit Commission published a report rating Rossendale as the worst council in the country’.

Coun Pearson, who had heart surgery in 1999, stepped down as council leader in December 2003, citing health reasons as a key factor.

He lost his ward seat to the Conservatives’ Chris Wadsworth at the following year’s elections.

A spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said two types of cautions can be handed out, either with or without conditions.

She said: “In accordance with Home Office guidelines the police have the power to caution people without referring the matter to the CPS.

“They can also refer the matter to us and we have to consider the circumstances of each individual case to determine what is appropriate.