Ex-teacher had 6,500 child porn images

A RETIRED Suffolk teacher has been found guilty of downloading more than 6,500 indecent images of children for his sexual gratification.

Jane Hunt

A RETIRED Suffolk teacher has been found guilty of downloading more than 6,500 indecent images of children for his sexual gratification.

A judge rejected claims by ex-public schoolteacher Donald Duncan that he had been doing innocent research into the subject of child pornography.

Duncan, 67, who taught maths for 40 years and has also been involved in youth cricket, was arrested by police after a visitor to his flat saw images of children on his computer which caused him “considerable distress”, a court heard.

The pensioner, of Broadwater Gardens, Shotley Gate admitted 16 offences of making indecent images of children and one offence of possessing indecent images of children between January 2001 and March 2007 when he appeared at Ipswich Crown Court in February.

However he claimed he had no sexual interest in the images and had downloaded them as part of statistical research after hearing a claim on a radio show that child pornography was on the increase.

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His case was adjourned until yesterday for a trial of issue to allow a judge to hear evidence and decide on what basis to sentence Duncan.

After hearing evidence from Duncan, Judge Neil McKittrick rejected his claims about having the images on his computer for research purposes and said he was satisfied he had downloaded them for his sexual gratification.

Adjourning the case until July 17 for a pre-sentence report Judge McKittrick warned Duncan, who has been ordered to sign on the sex offenders' register, that all sentencing options would be open to the court.

Robert Sadd prosecuting told the court at the time of the offences Duncan, who has never been married and has no children, had been the manager of an under-12 cricket team.

He said that after a visitor to Duncan's flat saw indecent images on his computer and contacted the police officers seized computer equipment belonging to Duncan and examined it.

A total of 6,516 indecent images of children were found, including on a scale of one to five with level five being the most serious, 5,725 at level one, 375 at level two, 145 at level three, 257 at level four and 14 at level 5.

Duncan, who was a teacher between 1961 and 2001, told the court he had decided to collect information on child pornography after hearing a claim on a radio programme that child pornography was on the increase.

Duncan said he had downloaded material from news groups on his computer over a period of years as part of a project to see if the claims made on the radio programme were backed by statistics.

He said he may have used the information in a book he was planning to write on the subject of childhood.

Duncan told the court that as a maths teacher he had an interest in statistics and had produced statistics on a variety of subjects including lottery numbers, cricket, rugby and football.

He accepted that he had been “naïve and stupid” but denied having a sexual interest in the indecent images he had downloaded.

Cross-examined by Mr Sadd he denied that his claim that he was doing research was “an inadequate and pathetic” attempt by him to avoid the consequences of his actions.

Rejecting Duncan's claims Judge McKittrick said, “I am not satisfied that he had or may have had these images for research purposes.”

“My finding is that the prosecution has made me sure these images were accrued by the defendant for his own gratification.”

Neighbours said today that Duncan seemed to live a solitary existence.

One neighbour, who would not give his name, said: “He's like a hermit, he wakes up at about noon everyday. I saw him getting a taxi the other day with a briefcase. I assume that was him going to court.

“When he first came here, he was out and about all the time. But now he barely comes out at all.”

Another neighbour said Duncan seemed to spend much of his time sitting at his computer.

- How should the courts deal with internet perverts? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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