May 2010

Former librarian sent to jail for six years on child porn offences

A former librarian and union official from Bath, who had more than 60,000 indecent images of children on his computer, has been sent to jail for six years.

Neil Rosser, 41, of King Georges Road in Twerton, admitted owning photographs and videos featuring children as young as four months old, and using the internet to meet young boys.

He used the instant messaging site MSN to speak to adolescent boys across the world, sending them images of child pornography, and committed obscene acts in front of a webcam.

He had also arranged to meet up with a 15-year-old boy from Essex and even went as far as booking a hotel room and paying for train fares before his potential victim changed his mind.

Bristol Crown Court heard that Rosser had known he had been attracted to young boys since the age of 19, but had been able to manage his urges until he bought a computer ten years ago.

After that his behaviour spiralled out of control as he downloaded, saved and printed off tens of thousands of indecent images.

Investigating officer DC Geoff Colvin told the prosecution that some of the pictures and videos were the “most disgusting and depraved” he had seen in his 24-year career.

Neil Treharne, prosecuting, said Rosser’s offending had spanned the period between 2001 and November 2008, when he was arrested during a joint operation involving the Avon and Somerset and Greater Manchester forces.

During interviews he admitted many more details about his behaviour than police officers would have been able to find out during their own investigation, because of the sheer number of files on his computer.

Rosser, a former Unison official who represented staff working for Bath and North East Somerset Council but was sacked when the offences came to light, told police that he had fantasised about the young boys in school uniform he would see during his job as a librarian, but that he would never have approached them.

He admitted he had posted a picture of a bare-chested teenage boy with blonde hair as his profile picture on MSN, but said he had later told the boys he was speaking to about his real age.

Paul Connell, defending, said Rosser was aware of the seriousness of his actions and had been seeking help from the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, which works with sex offenders to help them change their behaviour. He said: “It is a genuine desire to get to grips with managing his sexual motivations.”

Rosser will have to serve at least half of the jail term, and Judge Mark Horton said he hoped he would continue to get help.

He said: “Those images and films featured the most depraved abuse of young children under the age of 13. It included children less than 12 months old and one of four months old.

“These were the worst seen by the investigating officer in 24 years and certainly the worst seen by this court.

“I hope this sentence does involve you receiving the treatment and help that you so clearly need and require, and so clearly are now ready to take. It is a tragedy for you and this court that you didn’t seek that help in 2001 when these offences commenced.”

DC Colvin, who was commended by the judge, said he thought it was a fair sentence.

He said: “One of the things he said to us was that he wouldn’t have stopped offending until such time we came through the door and made him stop. If he hadn’t been arrested and stopped then he could’ve easily gone on to commit contact offences.”

Rosser has been put on the sex offenders’ register and given a sexual offences prevention order for life.