APRIL 2011

Former Hertfordshire County Council employee avoids jail for child abuse images

A FORMER Hertfordshire County Council employee has avoided jail after admitting possession of more than 5,700 indecent images of children.

Andrew Laycock, 58, from Hertford, was handed a 26 week prison sentence, suspended for two years, by Judge Andrew Bright at St Albans Crown Court yesterday.

The now retired head of legal services at County Hall had pleaded guilty to 18 charges relating to child abuse images, including 17 counts of making indecent pictures of children, at the end of March.

Laycock was ordered by the court to attend an internet sex offenders treatment programme, and was given a two-year supervision order.

He must also register as a sex offender for seven years and was fined £1,600.

Passing sentence, Judge Andrew Bright QC, said: “You built your reputation up as a lawyer and have rightly lost it as a result of what you were secretly doing.”

CPS prosecutor, Robbie Weber, said: “Mr Laycock realised how strong the evidence was against him and admitted his crimes in court.

“He has been back before the court where Judge Bright QC has sentenced him accordingly for his crimes. He also has to live with the humiliation of everyone knowing what he has done.

“The police and CPS will robustly investigate and prosecute anyone who commits crimes involving child abuse images.”

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Archi Bagworth, based within the Hertfordshire Constabulary paedophile investigation unit, said: “I hope that this case sends out a clear message to anyone who possesses or is involved in the making indecent images of children; we have the technology to identify who you are and track you down.”