Soldier is jailed for child pornography

AN “outstanding” soldier and member of the elite Parachute Regiment has been jailed for four months after his computer was found with more than 1,500 indecent images of children.

AN “outstanding” soldier and member of the elite Parachute Regiment has been jailed for four months after his computer was found with more than 1,500 indecent images of children.

Among the pictures on the hard drive of Warrant Officer Richard Corner's PC were some of adults involved in sexual activity with children and pictures of infants aged just six and seven.

The 37-year-old, of Messines Road, Colchester, was away with his regiment in Kenya when police executed a search warrant on his home in August 2003, Basildon Crown Court heard yesterday.

The computer, which was no longer working, was found in the garage and the pictures recovered were graded level one to four - level five is considered the most serious.

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Corner was met upon his return to the UK by police officers at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire where he was arrested and taken to Colchester for questioning.

Prosecuting, Matthew Gowen, said during interview Corner had made a “full and frank” of how the images had come to be on the computer.

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He said he had seen colleagues looking at pornography on a computer and put the thought at the back of his mind before going online at a later stage to access adult sites.

Mr Gowen said Corner had given his credit card details to a company and later received e-mails as a result of his subscription.

Corner opened the e-mails and realised there were pictures of children and although he had not intended to access such images, he did not shut all the windows down.

Corner did not save any of the pictures - viewed in part of 2001 and in early 2002 - or put them on to a disk, instead deleting them once he had viewed them.

Mr Gowen said Corner had found the images “appalling” and would not have wanted his children to be treated in such a way.

More than 1,500 images were recovered on the computer's hard drive, with nearly 150 at level four.

Corner had pleaded guilty to four offences of making indecent photographs of children at an earlier hearing.

At the court yesterday, Corner's wife, Alison, said she would be standing by her husband.

She told the court: “It was the most appalling crime, which Richard will live with for the rest of his life.

“He is completely trustworthy, a fantastic husband and wonderful father to the boys. I have never had any problems with him in the 15 years we have been together - I just want him to be back for being a father to the boys.”

Answering questions from Corner's defence barrister, Andrew Jackson, she said her husband was totally remorseful.

Mr Jackson added that since being arrested Corner had continued to serve for his regiment in an “exemplary manner” but had also been punishing himself for what happened.

Sentencing, His Honour Judge Richard Foster, said Corner was “an outstanding soldier” who had been of “great service to his regiment and his country”.

He said the sentence he as passing was far shorter than normal as a result of what he had heard about the soldier and also the fact he had made the early plea of guilt.

Corner was sentenced to two months in prison for the level one images, two months for the level two images, four months for the level three images and four months for the level four images, to run concurrently.

He was also placed on the Sex Offenders' Register and an order was made for the computer to be forfeited.

An Army spokesman confirmed last night that Corner's career was now over and that position was not negotiable.

“This is a matter which the Ministry of Defence and the Army takes extremely seriously”, he said.

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