Ipswich: Security guard jailed for schoolgirl photographs

Benjamin Melley, who was jailed for 28 months for child sex offences.

Benjamin Melley, who was jailed for 28 months for child sex offences. - Credit: Contributed

A security guard who took indecent photographs of a schoolgirl and distributed them on the internet has been jailed for 28 months.

Benjamin Melley, 27, was arrested in February by police officers in Suffolk who were contacted by the child exploitation and online protections centre after he offered indecent images of a child to an undercover police officer in New Zealand, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Richard Potts, prosecuting, said that when Melley was arrested in February police seized his laptop computer and a USB drive and when they were analysed they were found to contain a total of 270 indecent images of children and seven films.

He said the children in some of the images were as young as one or two.

Melley, of Bond Street, Ipswich, admitted taking indecent pictures of a child, distributing indecent images of a child, arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence and two offences of making indecent images of a child.

Jailing him for 28 months, Judge John Devaux said that once the indecent images of the girl had gone online there was no restriction as to what use they would be put to in the future.

In addition to jailing Melley he ordered him to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years and made him the subject of a sexual offences prevention order.

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Mr Potts said Melley had taken pictures of the girl below her waist and had tried to prise her legs apart but she had resisted him.

He said that during conversations with the undercover officer in New Zealand Melley had displayed considerable knowledge of the internet and had provided him with information about software that enabled users to maintain online anonymity.

Charles Myatt, for Melley, said his client had no previous convictions and tried to persuade the court to pass a sentence which would allow him to receive treatment on a sex offenders’ programme rather than send him straight to prison.

He said that while talking in chat rooms to the undercover office in New Zealand, Melley had discussed committing serious offences in relation to the girl but these were fantasy and not fact. “The girl makes no complaint of any serious significant offences being committed against her,” said Mr Myatt.

He said Melley felt genuine remorse for what he had done. “He is disgusted with himself for being drawn into this murky world and allowing himself to behave in the way he has done,” said Mr Myatt.