Former West Yorkshire Police officer accessed sickening child images

A respected former West Yorkshire Police officer downloaded "graphic and disturbing" images of children being sexually abused, a court heard.

Leeds Crown Court

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David Griffiths was still working as a civilian "investigation" officer with the police when he was arrested in January this year.

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Griffiths, of Thornleigh Avenue, Wakefield, was placed under investigation by his West Yorkshire colleagues when evidence of his offending came to light.

Leeds Crown Court heard police seized two laptops and a mobile phone from the 69-year-old.

They were found to contain over 200 sickening images of children being sexually abused.

Caroline Wigin, prosecuting, said 107 images were at category A - the most serious level of offending.

Images involving sexual abuse of animals were also discovered.

Miss Wigin said a three hour-long video was among the illegally downloaded material.

It featured children aged between 11 and 14 years old being subjected to painful sexual abuse.

Griffiths was also found to have made internet searches including 'peado', 'pre-teen' and 'underage'.

The images were accessed between June 2016 and January 2018.

The court heard Griffiths was a serving police officer for 30 years before retiring.

He then took up a civilian role with the force as an "investigator".

Griffiths resigned when an investigation began into his offending.

He was given a suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to three offences of making indecent photographs of a child and possessing an extreme pornographic image.

Paul Fleming, mitigating, said the offending was not linked to Griffiths's work and he did not use police property to access them.

Mr Fleming said Griffiths had been married for 29 years and his arrest had put a strain on his relationship with his partner.

The barrister said Griffiths had been in touch with a charity to seek help for his offending.

Sentencing Griffiths, Recorder Sophie Drake said: "As you well know as a former police officer, these are not victimless crimes.

"Children have to be abused for men like you to view these images.

"In your way, you have played a part in the serious abuse of these children.

"I find it hard to accept that you committed these offences out of boredom.

"You have served in the community as a police officer for 30 years and then as a civilian worker.

"You have fallen from grace in the most spectacular way.

"The court has very little sympathy for you because you chose to view them."

Recorder Drake said she was imposing the suspended sentence so Griffiths could continue to receive help to tackle his offending.

She added: "The public are better served and protected if you engage with the probation service to build on the good work you have already started."

Griffiths was given an eight month sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work.