November 2009

Paedophile who took photos of rapes is jailed indefinitely

A PAEDOPHILE who photographed himself raping a child has been locked up indefinitely after a judge branded him a significant danger to the public.

Former soldier Martin David Hawk, 37, will be released only when Parole Board officials are convinced he is no longer a risk.

Hawk was told by a judge that he had robbed the girl of her innocence, and that the consequences of his “deplorable” abuse will stay with her forever.

Judge Michael Taylor also criticised him for trying to blame the schoolgirl in a Probation Service interview and to paint himself as the victim.

The details of how the failed Darlington businessman came to be caught by police emerged during yesterday’s Teesside Crown Court hearing. The court heard he was arrested after the photographs were found on his digital camera by flatmate Steven Robinson.

Mr Robinson once borrowed the camera to take pictures of his grandmother’s grave in Stanley, County Durham, because he could seldom visit it.

Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said Mr Robinson looked at the images of the headstone when he wanted to remember good times, or when he felt down.

On June 27, while Hawk was out, Mr Robinson took the camera to look at the photo and was shocked by what he saw.

“He telephoned some friends, and took the camera with him. They looked at the images and broke down in tears,” said Mr Dodds.

The group went to Darlington police station and handed over the camera and Hawk was arrested.

Hawk initially admitted two charges of rape and three of taking indecent photographs of a child on dates in June.

Since then, he has pleaded guilty to a further four rapes, 12 counts of making indecent images, and one of possessing 1,891 indecent images of children.

Mr Dodds said the subsequent charges were brought after experts from Durham Police checked Hawk’s computer and the camera’s memory.

Judge Taylor described the hundreds of abuse pictures Hawk downloaded from the internet as “some of the most deplorable one could imagine”.

Adrian Dent, mitigating, said Hawk started looking at child pornography when his business hit problems and his relationship was crumbling.

“He does express his profound regret for what he did, and through me apologises to the girl,” he added.

Hawk served with the Light Infantry shortly after leaving school, and later ran a company which installed cable television services.

Judge Taylor said: “What is very serious in this case is moving away from taking images and downloading them to that horrific abuse.

“You robbed her of her innocence, you robbed her of her childhood, and the consequences will live with her for the rest of her life.

“You seemed to believe that to some extent you were the victim of what was going on, and you were partially under the control of that young girl.

“That illustrates the danger you pose to young children. I am quite satisfied that you pose a very significant risk.”

Hawk, of Witton Crescent, Darlington, was also banned for life from working with children, having any contact with under-18s and owning a camera or computer.