August 2023

Sex offender covertly filmed youngsters on beaches & parks

A paedophile with a warped sexual interest in children covertly filmed youngsters on beaches and at parks as he walked his dog, a court was told.

Kenneth Anthony Bushell was subject to what was then termed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order after being jailed at Newcastle Crown Court over the possession of indecent images of children in 2014 and 2015.

But the now 68-year-old defendant, formerly from Newcastle, was back at court for sentence on Friday (August 25), as a result of the recovery of devices from him on a monitoring visit by a risk offender manager, at his home near Barnard Castle, on January 3 this year.

Despite telling police they may find “four or five” indecent photos of children on the various devices, “all done a long time ago”, examination of their contents revealed hundreds of offending images, a number taken by him in parks and other public places, including in Darlington and Barnard Castle.

They included footage of him zooming in on genital areas or any exposed underwear, while there were also children undressed on beaches and even a toddler naked, wearing only floaters, in a swimming pool, taken by Bushell while on holiday.

Chris Baker, prosecuting, told Durham Crown Court the defendant used his skills from his work as a graphic designer, using photo-editing software to adulterate the images, to make them appear more sexualised, super-imposing phallic images next to the children or merely adding lurid comments.

Mr Baker said as well as the footage taken by Bushell there were also 990 other indecent images of children, 115 in the most serious category, plus 13 computer-generated images, featuring children engaging in penetrative sexual activity.

Attempts had also been made to conceal the images, with the originals deleted.

When further questioned, Bushell admitted making the images for his own sexual gratification and then attempting to conceal them from his risk manager.

Bushell, of The Steadings, Whorlton, admitted a charge of voyeurism, three counts of making indecent images of children, one of making prohibited images of children, relating to the CGI pictures, all putting him in breach of the Sexual Offences Prevention Order, which has since been replaced by a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Passing a prison sentence of three years and four months (40 months), Recorder Tom Moran told Bushell: “You’re 68 with a long-standing sexual interest in children that does not seem to have diminished with age.

“Investigation of your devices revealed your offending was far more serious and far more extensive than what you were previously dealt with for.”

Recorder Moran described Bushell’s “astonishingly depraved and deviant behaviour” as, “extremely troubling”.

He made Bushell subject of a new Sexual Harm Prevention Order to run indefinitely, while he must also register as a sex offender for life.