Former lecturer jailed

A FORMER lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire, found guilty of grooming a schoolgirl for sex and posessing more than 5,000 indecent images of children, has been jailed for two years.

Peter Watts, 51, from Haseldine Meadows, Hatfield, was caught after an undercover policeman posed as 14-year-old Katie in an internet chatroom.

Southwark Crown Court heard how the girl was really a 6ft 1in officer in his 30s from the Metropolitan Police’s Paedophile Unit.

Watts, a former computer science teacher at the University of Hertfordshire, chatted up Katie before travelling to a park in Kennington, south east London, in October last year to meet her.

The father of one, who had three condoms in his pocket, was instead met by the “covert internet investigator” and arrested.

Watts denied grooming the girl for sex and told a jury at his hearing that he had been on a ‘suicide mission’ when he went to meet the imaginary teen and knew he was going to be arrested.

An undercover police search of his home after his arrest revealed more than 5,000 images of children being abused on a computer hard drive hidden in his attic.

Some showed young girls being subjected to horrific acts of sadomasochism and others titled “pre-teen”, “Lolita” and “paedo kiddy”.

He earlier admitted six counts of making indecent images of children.

Passing sentence, Judge Nicholas Lorraine-Smith said: “If people didn’t decide to look at these images or collect them then children such as those in the images would not be put through the various degrees of degradation that they have been put through.

“That is why sentences of imprisonment have been suggested in cases of this type to represent that it is a risk not worth taking.

“These images would themselves have been enough to send you to prison but you allowed your fantasies to turn into what you hoped would become a reality.”

Watts was ordered to sign the Sex Offender’s Register for the next ten years, was made the subject of a sexual offences prevention order and banned from working with children.