April 2022

Sex offender took pictures of girls at sports events

A Norfolk runner who admitted indecent images offences took close-up pictures of girls wearing tight shorts at running and gymnastics events.

David Murrell, 46, a former member of a Norwich-based running club was found to have downloaded hundreds of indecent images of children.

Norwich Crown Court heard as well as downloading images from the internet Murrell also took pictures of children himself at running and gymnastics events.

Chris Youell, prosecuting, said pictures taken by the defendant of real girls at running events in June and August 2019, included girls wearing “skin tight running shorts and sports bra”.

Murrell also took pictures of girls at gymnastics events in December 2019 with the images showing “close ups of genital areas”.

The court heard pictures of the children were found in a “concealed” folder on his phone that were in part of a secret app which needed a PIN number to get into it.

Mr Youell said Murrell was caught by police after a category B indecent image of a child uploaded by the defendant led to officers executing a search warrant at his home in July 2020.

Devices, including a mobile phone and hard drive were recovered and searched, and found to contain indecent images of children.

He was found to have downloaded and taken indecent images of children over a three-year period between 2017 and 2020.

Some of the images were category A, the most serious, but there were also category B and C images found.

These included 501 category C images, 424 of which were downloaded from the internet and 77 of them taken by the defendant, of which some were duplicates.

Also recovered by police were chats the defendant had with others online, including one where he talked about “sexually abusing children”.

Mr Youell said: “There clearly was in the background of his life something where he was fantasising about young children and young girls.

“He was talking about it on the internet and taking pictures and downloading images.”

Murrell, of Silk Mill Road, Hellesdon, appeared at court on Thursday (April 28) after having admitted three counts of making indecent images of a child and one count of distributing an indecent image of a child.

He also previously pleaded guilty to six counts of taking indecent photos of a child.

The mother of one of the children who had pictures taken of her read out a victim impact statement in which she described the knock at the door from police.

She said it was something she would “never forget” and felt “as if her world had stopped”.

The woman said: “It’s something I don’t think I will truly ever get over.”

She also described to the court the “confusion”, and “sheer terror” as well as “disbelief and disgust” she had felt.

The woman added she lies awake at night “worrying about what might have happened if he hadn’t been caught”.

The father of another victim in the case described the “dismay” about what had happened and he felt and hoped Murrell would get the help he needed.

Judge Katharine Moore adjourned sentencing until Wednesday, May 4 but warned Murrell “the custody threshold had been crossed by a country mile”.

Judge Moore remanded him in custody until next week due to concerns about his welfare.