Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Conservative Councillor - admits child porn charges

David Charles - Paedophile

A PAEDOPHILE councillor admitted a string of child pornography charges - two-and-a-half years after being arrested.

David Charles, 60, from Cranham, pleaded guilty to 16 counts of possessing vile images of youngsters, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

Charles, a councillor in the St Andrew's ward in Hornchurch, quit the Conservative Party following his arrest at home by officers from the Havering child abuse investigation team in June 2006. Since then he has been an independent councillor.

Residents' Association councillor Barbara Matthews (Hacton ward) said this wewek that Charles must now step down.

"If there's any honour in that man at all he will resign - regardless of any prison sentence," she said, adding his position as a local councillor was now "untenable".

Depraved images were found downloaded on Charles' home computer by police.

At an earlier hearing Charles claimed he only viewed adult pornography and discovered child porn "by accident".

He used the alias "Avenger" online and told police he downloaded the pictures and reported the websites to an American internet watchdog before deleting the obscene images.

He was formally charged with child porn offences in June 2007, but denied them.

His trial was due to take place on April 8, but now he has admitted to the charges, this date will act as his sentencing hearing.

Judge Simon Wilkinson said at last Wednesday's hearing: "All sentencing options are open."

Charles will be dropped as a councillor should he receive a prison sentence of more than three months, Havering Council confirmed.

Cllr Matthews added: "As a councillor he is often invited into people's homes. They are not going to be comfortable with that now.

"While there must be relief that there has been a resolution to all this, it is unbelievably crass that he has taken over two years to come forward."

Charles, who is in receipt of a councillor's allowance of £8,507 for 2008/9, failed to attend a single Hornchurch Area Committee meeting in 2007. He refused to comment.


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