April 2005

Net groomer jailed for sex abuse

A former child psychiatrist has been jailed for four years for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl after grooming her on the internet.

Dr Julian Morrell, 42, travelled 300 miles from his London home to meet the teenager, from Gwynedd, north Wales.

Last year, Morrell pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual activity with a child and to meeting a child following sexual grooming.

He was struck off in April 2004 for looking at child porn on the internet.

Caernarfon Crown Court was told at an earlier hearing that Morrell had posed as a teenage boy to meet the girl in an internet chatroom.

They exchanged several e-mails during the following month, before Morrell drove from his home in Ealing in west London to a campsite in Snowdonia.

The following month, the married father-of-two again drove to the campsite and sexually assaulted the girl once more. The girl’s parents found out in October 2004 and called the police.

Sentencing him on Friday, Judge Merfyn Hughes QC described Morrell as posing “a serious risk of causing harm”.

“You used your professional skill and expertise in order to gain the trust of your victim and you had personal and professional insight into what consequences your victim may suffer,” he said.

“You are a sexual predator of young girls, with a significant level of obsessive behaviour which you have been unable or unwilling to control.”

Morrell was sentenced to three years for the grooming charge and four years for each of the sexual activity charges. All the sentences are to run concurrently.

In addition to a jail sentence, a sexual offence prevention order was made including disqualification of Morrell fromworking with any child.

Struck off

Morrell had been considered a leading expert in child psychiatry, specialising in sleeping disorders.

He had worked at the Park Hospital for children in Oxford and a children’s clinic in Reading, Berkshire.

He was struck off by the General Medical Council in April 2004 for looking at child pornography on the internet.

Morrell had been caught looking at similar sites before, but was only suspended by the GMC.

His defence barrister Rachel Smith said: “He has already lost everything he holds dear – his good name, his career, his wife, his children.”