May 2023

Chesterfield scout leader scoured internet for sick child abuse images thousands of times

A scout leader of almost four decades made just short of 80,000 vile internet searches for children including “gay cub scout” and “familial incest”. 

Derby Crown Court heard how former school governor Martin Platts also had pornographic cartoon images of crucified and hanging children when police examined his electronic devices.

The 66-year-old was also found to have more than 1,000 child abuse images of the most serious category A and including one boy with a pixelated face in pain from being raped by an adult.

Handing the defendant a two-year jail sentence, suspended for two years, Recorder Ruth Coffey said: “You were working with children as a scout leader and then returning home and making searches for this. You were someone acting with one face outwardly and another face behind the scenes.

“It is a betrayal of the community and the children involved have suffered this type of abuse. This behaviour leaves lasting lifetime trauma.”

Eddie Leonard said police executed a warrant at the Chesterfield home of Platts in June 2021 and seized his electronic devices. She said an examination showed them to contain 756 accessible category A images and 444 that were inaccessible.

The prosecutor said there were 57 active images of category B, 3,309 category C and 1,202 cartoon images. Miss Leonard said: “Analysis of his computer showed he had made 79,098 internet searches on a Russian website which is where most of these images were from.

“Search terms included ‘young boy,’ ‘gay cub scout,’ ‘hanging children’ and ‘familial incest’.”

Platts, of Tennyson Avenue, pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children and one count of making prohibited images of children. He has no previous convictions and was supported in court by his wife.

As part of the suspended sentence order, Platts was ordered to attend 55 rehabilitation sessions with the probation service. He was also handed a 10-year sexual harm prevention order and was placed on the sex offender register, also for 10 years.