August 2011

Met sergeant spared jail over child abuse images

A Met sergeant whose computer contained 110 indecent images of children was spared jail today.

Sgt Antony Vodden, 46, was investigated after he contacted a female undercover detective from Australia via a chat room used by paedophiles.

Jurors at Southwark crown court heard how he sent obscene message to the officer, including claims he had molested children aged 10 and 15.

He was alleged to have made contact using a pseudonym in March 2008.

Police raided Vodden’s home in Uxbridge in January 2009 and seized his computer. An expert discovered the images which had been deleted from the hard drive. Twelve images were of the second highest level of severity. Vodden claimed the images had been “sent to his computer by some sort of accident”.

Defence counsel Guy Ladenburg said Vodden had been off work with a broken ankle at the time. “There was a trauma buried very deeply in his past that was surfacing,” he said.

Vodden, a police sergeant for 24 years, was convicted of 12 counts of making indecent photographs of children. He was given a nine-month sentence suspended for 15 months.

Judge John Price said: “This was real children being abused, they were not cartoon figures, they were real children being abused by adults.”

Vodden was ordered to sign on to the sex offender register for 10 years and told he must attend an internet sex offender specified activity programme for 60 days. Following a retrial he was cleared of one count of distributing indecent photographs of children.