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Essex magistrate, ex-teacher and school governor admits child porn offences at Ipswich court

PUBLISHED: 13:59 21 June 2016 | UPDATED: 14:01 21 June 2016

Man, 60, admits child porn offences

Man, 60, admits child porn offences

A magistrate, school governor, and former teacher who posed as a child for online 'fantasy chats' has pleaded guilty before Ipswich magistrates to child pornography offences.

Sixty-year-old Vincent Copeland admitted three charges of making indecent images of children between October 30, 2014 and November 14, 2015.

Three of the movies were classified as Category A – the most serious grading of child images. There were also two Category B movies and two Category C images.

Colette Harper, prosecuting, said Copeland was a magistrate at the time of the offences. He was also a school governor and retired teacher.

The images were found via his e-mail address.

The court was told by the time Copeland was arrested he had disposed of his laptop and hard drive in a bin in Leigh, near Southend.

Police also found an unaddressed letter Copeland had written to someone indicating he was expecting to be arrested.

Magistrates were told the ex-teacher had become concerned after finding his AOL address had been closed down.

The letter read: “You know already, or will shortly find out, I’m in trouble for looking at illegal pornography online.

“I’m ashamed of this and will serve my punishment.

“I hope that you can forgive me and would stay in touch.

“To respect this I will not contact you unless you tell me otherwise.”

Mrs Harper said the letter was signed ‘Vince’.

The court heard Copeland told police he had been using the internet for five or six years and had talked online with other adults about children.

He had also posed as a child for online fantasy chats.

Copeland was also said to have admitted looked at images of boys 13 and upwards, although the children in the photos relating to the offences he pleaded guilty to were said to be as young as 10.

Matthew Bone - representing Copeland, of Leigh Road, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, said: “This is a case that is a crying shame. Mr Copeland has been a dedicated public servant.”

Magistrates committed the case to Ipswich Crown Court for sentencing at a later date.

Copeland was released on bail but is subject to the sex offenders’ notification requirements.

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