July 2011

Paedophiles jailed after 3,000 child abuse drawings found

Stephen Freeman

The former leader of the paedophile pressure group Pie was jailed after becoming the first person to be convicted for making drawings of children being raped. The prosecution, under the 2009 Coroners and Justice Act, was described as a landmark case by Scotland Yard.

Detectives found 3,000 drawings at Steven Freeman’s home, where he held weekly meetings to view and trade images of child abuse. The images were described at the Old Bailey as “vile and disgusting” and were amongst the worst seen by police, they said. Some 14,500 pictures and films were found on computer discs there and at the address of two of his paedophile ring. Detectives believe tens of thousands more were stored on encrypted computer hard-drives they have been unable to access.

Officers from the Child Abuse Command also found computer games where players tried to abuse as many children as possible. Three of the defendants had been leaders of Pie, the Paedophile Information Exchange, which was disbanded after members were jailed.

Freeman, 57, previously known as Smith, the chairman of Pie, was given an indeterminate term for public protection. He was given a minimum term of 30 months after pleading guilty to specimen charges of possessing indecent images, having prohibited drawings, distributing indecent images and failing to disclose the password for an encrypted computer.

John Morrison, left, and Barry Cutler, right

John Morrison, 44, was jailed for 24 months after he admitted having indecent images and failure to disclose a computer password. John Parratt, 63, a former vice chairman of Pie, also known as Warren Middleton, was jailed for 12 months for having indecent images. Barry Cutler, 60, pleaded guilty to three offences of having indecent images and failure to provide a password, and was jailed for 15 months. Leo Adamson, 49, a former executive member of Pie, was found guilty of failure to disclose a computer password and was jailed for a year at an earlier hearing.

Leo Adamson, left, helped set up Pie to distribute obscene pictures of young boys while John Parratt, right, was a former vice-chairman of the organisation

Mark Gadsden, prosecuting, told the court: “These defendants were paedophiles who would regularly meet up at Steven Freeman’s address to view images of children – specifically boys.”

He said some of the images had been burned on to discs so they could be viewed later by some of the accused. Three discs containing more than 5,000 images were found at the home shared by Parratt and Morrison after a police raid in July 2008.

The judge, Recorder Oliver Sells, told Freeman: “You were at the centre of this network intent upon possessing and distributing serious forms of indecent material.”

Detective Inspector Paul Maddocks said: “As a former executive committee member of the Paedophile Information Exchange, Freeman was instrumental in bringing this group of men together and encouraging the exchange of material.

“Even when caught, his arrogance was such that he refused to provide police with the key to a large quantity of encrypted information held on computer discs.”