June 2003

Jail for internet child porn man

A retired accountant and married father-of-two began a jail sentence in disgrace on Friday after being nailed in a major operation against internet child pornography.

Police found over 13,000 indecent images of children as young as two on computers at the home of David Thomas, Blaengwaith Noah House, Princes Gate, near Narberth.

His arrest last December was part of the national and international Operation Ore, carried out by the police and NSPCC.

Thomas, aged 55, who once trained as a magistrate for the Carmarthenshire bench and had worked as a tax inspector, is among more than 1,300 people prosecuted under the ongoing operation in the past year.

The case comes as ‘a painful reminder’ that this type of offence can take place where access to the internet is available, said Pembrokeshire branch NSPCC chairman, Canon Michael Butler.

He added: “Behind these indecent, abusive images are real children who will have suffered immense damage and trauma. The NSPCC’s determination is to ensure children who may be at risk from those who access and trade in such images are brought to justice.”

Few people in Princes Gate and Tavernspite communities were aware David Thomas was due in court. Residents have been aghast. “This is a little close to home,” said one mother-of-three. But a family friend felt the case was an ‘absolute tragedy’. He described Thomas as being ‘rather highly-strung and having an inquiring and inquisitive mind’.

“He was a bit of a maverick who was inclined to cock a snook at authority. After he was charged he admitted to me that he had downloaded images as a gesture because it was just about the biggest taboo at the time.

“I am utterly and completely convinced he is not a paedophile. It is not in his nature and it is obvious there is not a shred of evidence to suggest it, other than this catastrophic mistake which has affected no-one except him and those close to him.”