Missing student's father admits porn charges

THE father of a missing student has admitted possessing and making indecent images of children.

Roger Bohling, 57, whose son Russell went missing nearly six months ago, pleaded guilty to 11 offences at Beverley Magistrates' Court yesterday.

He admitted five counts of making indecent photographs or pseudo photographs of a child, three counts of possessing indecent photographs of a child, and three of possessing extreme pornographic images involving women and animals.

The court heard Bohling had called police on March 23 to tell them the images were on his computer when it was taken away for examination during the search for Russell, who disappeared on March 2.

A further search of the family home at The Fairway, West Ella, near Hull, and a holiday home in Ravenscar, North Yorkshire, saw other computers, CDs and digital storage devices seized, which were also found to have indecent images on them.

In total 484 indecent images of children were found, as well as adult bestiality films.

The images of children were classed as level one, the least serious on a scale of one to five.

When questioned by police whether he considered images of a girl aged nine or 10 revealing her underwear as indecent, Bohling said he did not.

He told officers: "You make it sound like the answer should be yes, but the images to me do not come across as sexually provocative."

He said he liked the image "because it looked like the child was happy".

Bohling said he had not realised he was committing an offence.

His solicitor, Lawrence Watts, told the court: "It was never his intention to break the law.

"When he was interviewed on the first occasion he said he didn't understand that a photograph which wasn't nude in which no sexual activity was depicted could be seen to be indecent."

Mr Watts said Bohling was "hugely embarrassed" and apologised to the court on his behalf.

He said the case had an "unusual and tragic background" in reference to Russell's disappearance.

After the hearing, Bohling said: "I genuinely didn't appreciate the fact that they would be classed as indecent in the law.

"My idea of indecent is, I suppose, there had to be some sort of sexual activity. If I had a better understanding of what an indecent image was I would never have touched them with a bargepole."

He added: "I deeply regret the embarrassment that I have caused my family.

"They have given me a lot of support and I'm very, very grateful to them.

"They are not their father's keeper and the responsibility is mine and mine alone."

Bohling is due to be sentenced at Hull Crown Court on September 20.

Russell, 18, has not been seen since leaving home at 8am on March 2, when he was expected to travel to Bishop Burton College, near Beverley.

It has not been established whether he arrived and his blue Renault Clio was found abandoned the next day at Bempton Cliffs nature reserve, near Bridlington.

It displayed an all-day parking ticket, which had Russell's fingerprint on it and had been bought at 11.30am on March 2.

His fate remains a mystery despite extensive police inquiries.