Child porn shame YMCA boss spared jail sentence

POLICE arrested the chief executive of Halifax YMCA after a colleague saw indecent images of children on his laptop and he admitted being obsessed with spanking, a court heard.

Angus Henderson subsequently told officers he was primarily interested in adults involved in the activity but had kept pornographic pictures and movies of children being spanked.

More than 500 images and movies recovered from four laptops and discs showed children as young as three being smacked or with bottoms exposed ready to be spanked, some clearly in pain.

Kama Melly, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court yesterday Henderson admitted looking at pictures of spanking even while at work for the Christian charity and said he needed help. He admitted posing as a girl in chatrooms to further his interest.

Henderson's counsel Alan Taylor said it had come as a relief to him to be able to talk about his secret perversion which he had harboured for so long, even though it had brought shame on his family and cost him his job.

Since his arrest he had sought medical help for his obsession and only recently had to come to terms with being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Henderson, 59, of Main Street, South Hiendley in Barnsley, who admitted 11 offences of possessing indecent images was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years coupled with supervision. He was also disqualified from working with children.

Judge Paul Hoffman told him an immediate jail sentence was amply merited for such offences which were shocking for a man who held a position in an organisation responsible for the young, while he was spending time at work "drooling over such images".

But he told the defendant he could be merciful having heard that Henderson had months rather than years to live.

"Coupled with that your wife has a debilitating illness, she is frail and to punish you would be to inflict heavy punishment on her."

He told Henderson he had taken part in a vicious spiral where children were abused and "if there were no end users such as yourself it is less likely there would exist the original abusers".

"You leave this court a shamed and disgraced man and a very fortunate one," he added.

Miss Melly said Henderson had overall responsibility for the Halifax branch of the YMCA when another employee Andrew Thomas, the general manager bought a second hand laptop from him in September 2006.

Henderson told him that anyone could have used it as "it's just been sat there", so when a spanking website came up on the internet browser, Mr Thomas paid no attention and wiped the hard drive clean.

But on September 24 last year when he was closing up in the office he noticed another spanking website on Henderson's computer screen .

He did no more about it, but the next day when he saw the laptop had been left on and noticed there were a number of folders including one called "young girls", he was concerned enough to open it and found nude pictures of children.

Miss Melly said Mr Thomas told someone at work but then decided it was too important to be left to internal discipline and informed the police. They seized a number of Henderson's laptops which showed images of children as well as pictures of Henderson himself bending over ready to be spanked.

When he was arrested he said: "Can I have a minute to get my head together. It's the end of my life, isn't it?"

The 594 images and movies recovered included 124 at level five, the most serious on a scale of one to five, one showing a child aged three to five screaming in agony as she was spanked.

There were also 393 at level one, six at level two and 72 at level three.