THE father of a Hull teenager who vanished without trace six months ago sacrificed his reputation in a desperate bid to find him when he handed police his computer containing hundreds of child porn images.
18-year-old Russell Bohling disappeared in March after his car was mysteriously found near cliffs at a beauty spot, and his father Roger, 57, made several impassioned pleas for information.
The retired civil servant made no attempt to clean up his system's hard drive when he handed it to police. Detectives found no clues as to his youngest son's disappearance but instead discovered the library of indecent photographs.
Bohling will now have to sign the sex offender's register and undergo a treatment programme after his habit was revealed at Hull Crown Court today.
Bohling, from West Ella near Hull, claimed his son, who had just turned 18 and stood to inherit a 300,000 semi-detached home, may have been murdered in a failed abduction attempt after telling someone of his imminent windfall.
The court heard that Bohling, wife Christine, 51, and their two elder sons had been through a "living hell" since Russell disappeared. The bricklaying student had special needs due to a speech disorder but dreamed of running his own company and was interested in politics.
Judge Alastair McDonald QC told him: "It is very sad to see someone who has clearly given a lot to society in court for offences of this sort. You will lose your good character and this will stay with you for life.
"In very unusual circumstances you volunteered your computer equipment to assist police in their inquiries to find your youngest son Russell. You knew they would discover these illegal pornographic images, mainly of children."
Prosecuting, Jharna Jobes said Bohling had offered his home computer to Humberside Police in the hope it would show who Russell had been talking to before his disappearance and help find him.
Officers soon found 415 images of children in erotic poses plus three photographs of extreme pornography featuring adults engaging in bestiality.
He had obtained all the images from a relative's computer, which he then downloaded on to a memory stick before transferring them to his computer and also burning them on to discs. The relative has been cautioned by police but did not face court.
Mitigating, Charlotte Davies said: "The defendant, along with the rest of his family, is suffering a great loss at this time. Young Russell went missing in March but there is not a shred of evidence as to what has happened to him.
"The family are in a living hell. Every time remains are found they are notified by police and have to endure a further hell until they are told they are not Russell's.
"He says the disappearance of his youngest child is at the forefront of his mind rather than these court proceedings, but he is remorseful for these offences."
She added that Bohling, who walked with the aid of a stick into court, suffers from a degenerative brain condition which seriously affects his mobility, concentration and short-term memory.
Judge McDonald handed him a community order with supervision for two years. He will have to complete a sex offenders treatment programme, comply with a sexual offences prevention order and sign the sex offenders register for five years. He will also pay 425 costs.
Bohling admitted four charges of making indecent images, four charges of possessing indecent images and three of possessing extreme pornography at an earlier hearing. The child porn images were ranked at Level One - the lowest level of seriousness.
Russell left the family home at 8am on March 2 to attend nearby Bishop Burton College with just 10 pounds in his wallet, but never arrived. His Renault Clio was found some 50 miles away at Bempton Cliffs. His bank account has remained untouched and his mobile phone was dead.
Speaking in March, Roger revealed that he had bought Russell and brothers Nigel, 23, and Andrew, 22, a three-bedroom semi-detached home each in nearby North Ferriby which they would receive when Russell turned 18.
Clutching a school photograph of his son, he said: "We think that day he has gone to meet somebody he knows and that someone has betrayed his trust. It may have been an abduction attempt to get a ransom that has gone wrong.
"If he'd jumped off that cliff the police would have found his body. I can't believe he would either leave home or kill himself."
In June Bohling slammed the police's investigation into the mystery, angry that it had taken them three months to interview staff and students at his college.