March 2010

Nine months for ambulance manager pervert found with child abuse images

A FORMER Plymouth ambulance manager who admitted having thousands of indecent images of young children has been jailed for nine months.

Darren Gibson, 44, was caught after his then-partner found images on CDs in a drawer at his home and alerted the police.

The CDs, his personal laptop and his work computer were found to contain more than 3,000 pornographic images of children, including eight images in the most serious categories.

Gibson, of Dundas Street, Stoke, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of making, and one count of possessing, indecent images of children. He appeared for sentence yesterday at Plymouth Crown Court.

The court heard the images were mostly of children aged 10 or under, including babies and toddlers.

Martin Salloway, for Gibson, said his client had downloaded them while drunk, and felt disgusted and ashamed at what he had done.

He said because of his crimes Gibson had lost his job, his partner and access to the child she was expecting when she found the images.

Judge Miranda Robertshaw told Gibson: “You deny getting any sexual gratification [from the images] and are described as having a lack of insight.

“It’s plain that you are in denial of your offending and its motivation.

“Alcohol was an uninhibiting rather than a causing factor of your abusive conduct.”

The court heard the pictures came to the attention of the police on July 17, 2009.

Gibson’s partner had been staying at his home and on July 16 he had to go on a work trip to Dublin.

She stayed, and before leaving decided to tidy up.

Putting some clothes in a drawer, she came across five to seven CDs.

She had thought nothing more about it, but her suspicions were aroused when Gibson constantly phoned and text her throughout the day, the court heard.

He was ‘extremely’ interested in what she had been doing in the house and she thought he was trying to hide something – perhaps pictures of his ex-partner.

The following day she went back to his home, looked at the disks on her laptop, and found they contained indecent images of children.

She took the CD to police, who then searched Gibson’s house and his work computer.

Gibson joined the private healthcare sector in June 2003 after a 21-year career in the NHS ambulance service. He had previously worked as a public relations manager for the Westcountry Ambulance Services NHS Trust.

He is a national recipient of the Ambulance Service Institute’s annual award, and most recently worked for a Plymouth-based private ambulance company, but has since left the firm.

Gibson presented a number of character references to the court.

Judge Robertshaw said: “It is unfortunate, and I don’t hold it against you, that one of your references sought to criticise the behaviour of your partner in going to the authorities. On the contrary, she did the right thing.”

She sentenced Gibson to a total of nine months in jail and made a number of orders, banning him from possessing a computer capable of downloading images for five years and forcing him to reveal the nature of his offences if he is to spend time with a child alone, or to stay in the same house as a child.