March 2022

Ex-Slough civil servant caught with child and animal sexual abuse images

A former civil servant whose work involved tackling criminals has been spared jail after he was caught with animal and child sexual abuse images

Michael Atkinson, of Horton Road, Slough, had more than 500 extreme, prohibited and indecent images on his personal devices which he downloaded between 2004 and 2019.

The 63-year-old’s stash, who Reading Crown Court heard worked as a financial investigator working for HMRC, included:

  • 31 ‘category A’ indecent images of children (the most ‘grave’ kind of indecent image, according to the judge)

  • 39 ‘category B’ indecent images of children

  • 326 ‘category C’ indecent images of children

  • 132 ‘extreme’ pornographic images involving animals

  • 38 ‘prohibited’ computer-generated indecent images of children

The court heard that the animal porn images featured women performing sex acts with horses and dogs.

And the computer-generated indecent images featured children depicted to appear as young as four-years-old.

The category A images featured children ‘in pain and distress’, according to the judge.

Shina Animashaun, defending for Atkinson, said he had worked as a civil servant for many years having started at Derbyshire Police as a clerk.

He started at HMRC in 2005 where he investigated proceeds of crime funds.

However, he was let go after being arrested for child sexual abuse images offences.

His Honour Judge Burgess, sentencing, said: “Although men with your particular sexual interests do not resort to contact offences, you are providing a market for this sort of material.

“By consuming this sort of material, you are contributing to its generation.”

HHJ Burgess suspended Atkinson’s eight-month prison sentence as he deemed him not to be a risk to the public and someone who had a realistic prospect of rehabilitation.

He added: “The priority has to be crime prevention and the best way to do that is through rehabilitation.”

In addition to his prison sentence, Atkinson will have to take part in up to 30 rehabilitation activity days.

He was handed a sexual harm prevention order at his sentencing at Reading Crown Court on Thursday, March 31.