Social worker downloaded child porn

A SOCIAL worker who fronted a youth activities project has been spared jail after he admitted downloading child pornography.

Lizzie Parry

A SOCIAL worker who fronted a youth activities project has been spared jail after he admitted downloading child pornography.

Grandfather Ian Sampson, 55, was banned from ever working with children again after Ipswich Crown Court heard he had collected indecent images and videos of children under the age of 10.

The 57 images were found on Sampson's hard drive by a friend last September. The Suffolk County Council employee was dismissed from his job after he admitted the offence.


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Sampson, of Pakefield Street, Lowestoft, was given a 26-week suspended sentence prison sentence when he appeared at court yesterday.

He had previously admitted downloading the material through a file-sharing software programme from his home.

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The court heard how the former social worker had asked a friend to build a new computer for him after his previous desktop stopped working.

The workshop manager was directed to a skip by Sampson, who had dumped his old computer, and told to help himself to spare parts.

When asked by Sampson's wife to recover photos she had stored on the hard drive, he discovered the child pornography and felt it necessary to report it to the police.

Michael Crimp, prosecuting, said officers found five images and 52 videos of an indecent nature involving young children, which Sampson used “focused” search terms to find.

Andrew Thompson, representing Sampson, told how his client had been dismissed from work in October, shortly after being charged with the offences.

As a result of his prosecution he was also prevented from making contact with his grandchildren unless supervised.

Mr Thompson said: “For someone of his character, age, and personal qualities, Mr Sampson has fallen a long way in virtue of these matters. His prospects of future employment are very gloomy.

“When first brought to light, he immediately told officers what was on the computer. He maintained a frank approach to what was on the computer with his family.

“These images were downloaded over a relatively short period of time. It coincided with him being depressed and unhappy with work and to some extent bored. The images were not paid for and were found on a computer that was broken and ready for disposal.”

Sampson was also ordered to attend a programme to address his sexual offending, and told to surrender the hard drive hard drive on which the material was found.

He was also disqualified from working with children for life and ordered to pay all court costs by Judge John Devaux, who described Sampson as “a family man with a good work record and no previous convictions”.

Suffolk County Council said Sampson had worked for the authority for a number of years in various roles but at the time of his arrest he was fronting the Positive Futures Project, which is spearheaded by the Suffolk Youth Offending team.

The national social inclusion programme aims to encourage young people to take part sporting projects instead of hanging around on the streets and works to reduce levels of crime, anti-social behaviour and drug misuse carried out by youngsters.

During his time on the project Sampson was working with children in local communities between the ages of 10 and 16 in Ipswich, Waveney and Haverhill. As manager of the project he was a direct point of contact for people with enquiries about the scheme.

A county council spokesperson said: “When the allegations came to light the appropriate action was taken to ensure Mr Sampson had no access to children and young people. We followed the usual procedures while the matter was being investigated.”

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