January 2009

Pervert who preyed on boys is jailed

A DEPRAVED Plymouth paedophile preyed on young boys visiting a popular tourist attraction.

Thomas Holmes, formerly of Plymouth,but now of Tavistock was working at the Bodmin and Wenford Railway when he carried out a series of sexual assaults on children, Truro Crown Court heard

When police seized Holmes’ computer they found over 10,000 sexual images of children, described by police as “among the worst they have ever seen”.

At the sentencing of Holmes yesterday the court heard that the 60-year-old, a married father of three and retired fire station commander, used to live in the cellar of his family home, coming out only to eat or work.

Holmes was sentenced to a total of six years after pleading guilty to seven charges of sexual abuse of young boys and 33 charges relating to making, possessing and distributing indecent photographs.

Sentencing, Judge Christopher Elwen said that over 100 of the images found on Holmes’ computer were classified as level five – the most extreme classification.

Judge Elwen said: “They are some of the most disturbing and distressing images I have ever seen, involving very young children.”

The court heard that Holmes was involved in exchanging and distributing these images to other paedophiles via the internet.

Iain Leadbetter, prosecuting, said: “He admitted a desire for boys aged from 11-15. Boys who no doubt went to Bodmin Wenford Railway to enjoy themselves.

“Unbeknownst to them, this perverted defendant was present.”

In mitigation, Edward Bailey said: “Unfortunately his home life was a disaster. All the time he was suppressing his homosexuality and paedophilia. It’s ghastly eruption was catalysed by surfing the internet. His fantasies were fuelled and then acted out on those young boys at the railway.”

Holmes was ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

The current general manager of Bodmin Wenford Railway spoke yesterday to reassure families.

Richard Jones said: “The events took place a while ago and we very much want to put this behind us.”