May 2022

Ex-Scout leader filmed boys getting changed and hid child mannequin in his bedroom

An ex-Scout leader has been locked up for filming young boys getting changed and searching the internet for images of child abuse.

Nicholas Sherwood of Holsworthy managed to hide his perverted sexual interest in children for decades, Exeter Crown Court heard.

Sherwood was a member of the Scout movement for almost 30 years and was only caught after police raided his home.

The officers checked his computer and found a video camera hidden in a box in his wardrobe.

They also discovered a mannequin of a child he had hidden in his bedroom.

A judge told him he was guilty of a “colossal breach of trust” for using his former position with the Scouts to indulge his sexual interest in children.

He had been kicked out of the Scouts several years before after parents raised concerns about him.

However, he continued to search the dark web for images of abuse as his sexual interest in young boys continued.

During their search of the paedophile’s home, police discovered a mannequin of a child, thousands of indecent images of boys on his computer and books containing stories about child abuse.

Sherwood has now been jailed for 22 months after admitting voyeurism, possessing prohibited images of children and three offences of making or downloading indecent images of children.

Prosecutor Felicity Payne said police raided his house in May 2019 over concerns he was accessing the internet to view child abuse images.

They found indecent material on a number of devices, including children aged between three and 13 being sexually abused.

Officers also found videos from his time in the Scout movement. Sherwood’s face could be seen in one video setting up a hidden camera which filmed boys getting changed – the charge of voyeurism related to eight separate occasions when he secretly recorded boys.

Deputy Circuit Judge Neil Davey QC said: “Your apparent good character hid a perverted sexual interest in young boys which manifested itself in many ways. For nearly 30 years you were a Scout or Beaver Scout leader and you shamelessly took advantage of that.

“The activity was not discovered until police became aware in 2019 of your misuse of the internet. Police discovered, as well as your video recordings, thousands of indecent images of children of every category of seriousness as well as prohibited images of children. They were almost all entirely naked young boys and not just young but very young indeed.

“Whatever prospect of rehabilitation you pose by reason of the scale of the offending and the gross abuse of trust, children trusted you and their parents trusted you to look after them and the only appropriate punishment is to activate an immediate sentence of imprisonment.”