Steve Bayes, 56, a former Hull councillor for 32 years and ex-deputy chair of the Co-operative Group board, had tried to “save his skin” by pointing the finger at a “vulnerable” man with mental health problems, Recorder Richard Woolfall said.
Bayes, who had been the public face of City of Culture and a nurse at Hull Royal Infirmary until being suspended in 2016, was found guilty at a trial in April of two counts of making indecent photographs of children and a third of possessing extreme pornographic images, involving animals and men.
After police raided his flat in 2016, they recovered a laptop in which forensic examination later revealed indecent images and film clips of children thought to be as young as seven.
Recorder Woolfall told Hull Crown Court the attempt to pass the buck was a “particularly worrying” aspect of the case. He said the effect on the children who had been subject of the images “will undoubtedly be with them for the rest of their lives.”
The Judge said character references had spoken highly of the former councillor, adding: “Your reputation now lies in tatters but that is entirely of your own making.”
Bayes spent nearly five years on the Co-operative Group Board but was voted off in a shake-up in 2014.
During the trial it emerged that Bayes, who called himself Lord of Darkness on Twitter, kept hundreds of pornographic images in a desktop folder Steven Pictures/Despicable which he posted under the handle Satan666Lord.
Mike Wright, Chief Nurse for Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We have cooperated fully with police enquiries relating to Mr Bayes’ employment at the Trust, however it is important to stress that the matters discussed in court related to conduct outside of his NHS role. Mr Bayes is no longer an employee of the Trust.”
Bayes will be subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and on the Sex Offenders Register for the next 10 years.
Council leader Steve Brady condemned his former colleague’s actions “which fuel the abuse and victimisation of young people.”
The NSPCC said Bayes had been in a position of power and trust and the sentence “reflects his betrayal of that trust shown in him.”
Downloading the images fuelled “a vile trade in indecent images” and the knowledge that images may be repeatedly viewed and possibly never removed caused “on-going trauma” for survivors of child abuse.