University’s head of midwifery downloaded child porn images

Martin Towers
Martin Towers
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THE former head of midwifery at the University of Leeds has admitted to possessing almost 2,000 pornographic images of children.

Lecturer Martin Towers, 58, resigned from his position after police raided his home and found the images of youngsters aged as young as two.

Leeds Crown Court heard Towers and wife were school governors at the time of the offences, which were discovered in January last year, and had now resigned from their roles.

A judge told Towers, of Churchfield Lane, Rothwell, Leeds, he had “publicly humiliated” himself and his family by downloading the vile images.

The father-of-two avoided a jail sentence yesterday and was made the subject of a three-year community and supervision order which requires him to attend a sex offender programme

He was also banned from having unsupervised contact with children and ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years.

The court heard Towers tried to commit suicide after he was arrested but was stopped when police tracked him through his mobile phone.

Yunus Valli, prosecuting, said police executed a warrant at Towers’s home on January 15 last year after receiving information and seized computers. Indecent images were found hidden on files and folders on the software.

Mr Valli said: “In interview he said he was the head of midwifery at Leeds University, although he has resigned. Since then he had suffered a minor stroke between the two interviews when he was on bail.”

Towers, who pleaded guilty to 21 offences of making indecent images of children, told officers he had looked at the images and thought of it as “being naughty” but would delete them.

He said he only had an interest in adult pornography and had derived no sexual gratification from them.

The court heard a total of 1,986 images were discovered, of which 65 were at level four, the second most serious kind.

The ages of the youngsters in the illegal images ranged between two and 15.

Lindsay Lobley, mitigating, said: “The defendant did try to take his own life. Police tracked his mobile phone to make it an unsuccessful attempt.”

She added: “It has had a very significant impact on the defendant and his family.”

The lawyer added that Towers had since been introduced to a counsellor at the university and was now taking steps to address his offending.

He had also been in contact with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, a UK-wide child protection society dedicated to reducing the risk of children being abused.

Mrs Lobley told the court Towers had made no attempts to distribute the illegal images to another else and a probation service report assessed him as being a low risk of committing further offences

Since the offences had come to light, his health had suffered, she added.

His wife wrote a letter to the court describing her husband as a “kind hardworking man who always puts his family first.”

Judge Guy Kearl QC told Towers he took into consideration his age, the contribution he had made to society and the “public humiliation” his conduct had brought.

He said: “I think anybody who knows you would be astonished to see you standing in the dock.”

The judge added: “You have expressed remorse in interview and before this court. Before the discovery of these images you had a respectable job as a lecturer at Leeds University’s School of Healthcare. You have resigned and rightly so.

“Your wife has been publicly humiliated in her professional life. Not surprisingly the past 18 months have been stressful.

“This is shocking conduct from someone in your position.”

The University of Leeds confirmed Towers had been an employee but no longer worked there.