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News Archive > General > Ex cop admits child porn

Ex cop admits child porn

By Natasha Swift 26th July 2017

Ex cop admits child porn
AT COURT: Robert Branney

A FORMER police officer from St Austell who walked free from court after being caught with indecent photographs of children last year has admitted similar offences for a second time.

Robert Branney, of Treverbyn Gardens, appeared at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court via video link from Bodmin Magistrates’ Court on Monday, where he admitted making 25 category A indecent images of children between March 30 and June 21 last year.

The 70-year-old also pleaded guilty to making a category A movie, 36 category B indecent images of children and 197 category C indecent images of children between the same dates.
Branney is due to appear at Truro Crown Court for sentencing on August 25.

He was released on conditional bail and ordered to sign the Sex Offender Register.

In April last year Branney avoided a custodial sentence after pleading guilty to three offences of having 13 indecent images of children and a film in his possession between April and August 2015, making 51 indecent images of children between January and July 2015, and also possessing an extreme pornographic image of a sex act being performed with a dog on April 18, 2015.

The court was told the former child protection officer and trustee of the Cornwall Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre would fantasise about having sex with underage girls after getting addicted to accessing child pornography chat rooms when he retired from the force.

Branney, who was president of the St Austell Lions Club which saw him dress up as Father Christmas and visit children around the town to hand out presents as well as over see the club’s annual charity swimathon, where schoolchildren came from all over to take part, was handed an eight month prison sentence suspended for 12 months.

The court heard that the National Crime Agency had received information in 2014 that Branney was a person of interest.

In August 2015 police visited Branney at his family home.

When he opened the door to officers, Branney immediately told them: “I know why you are here.”

Police asked Branney why and he replied: “Child pornography.”

Last year the court was told Branney lived in a fantasy world after telling police about an “imaginary friend who had a granddaughter and daughter and was sexually abusing her”.

Branney, who retired from work 10 years ago, told police in his interview he lots of free time on his hands and had become addicted.

The court was told that the age of the children in the photos was believed to be between six and eight-years-old.

Branney’s defence barrister told the court: “There is no risk of him getting involved in this kind of thing again.”

Sentencing Branney, His honour judge Christopher Harvey Clark, QC, told Branney he lived in a fantasy world, adding: “I approach this case with a considerable degree of disbelief.

Fifteen years ago at the age of 54, you retired as a police officer after 28 years service.

“So far as I’m aware you retired with a good reputation. More to the point you had been involved in child protection work for four years. This concerns in particular the protection of children from sexual abuse by adults.

“In retirement, however, you had too much time on your hands. You became bored and obtained excitement by indulging in sexual fantasies online particularly through chat rooms.

“That is not a crime, it may well be that many people do the same, but in your case you stepped over the permissible line.

“You started looking at indecent images of children. Two involved penetrative sexual activity.

“To look at such images is illegal and immoral because it encourages people who make and distribute such images for profit to persuade children to pose and perform for the sexual gratification of adults.

“I ask myself the question how could you in particular sink so low. You who were a child protection officer.

“You are I hope and believe utterly ashamed of your conduct. So you should be for looking at such material and here you are today in the full glare of publicity.

“No greater punishment could be passed by me than for you to see tomorrow a mugshot of yourself on the front page of the local paper.

“Or maybe this evening a report about you in local television or radio with the words “child porn” and “ex child protection officer” linked together.

“It will be shame. You will be acutely embarrassed and so will your family and I hope you are particularly conscious of the affect on your family and of the shame you have brought on them.”

Judge Harvey Clark QC warned Branney: If you look at this type of image - indecent and disgusting images of children - for sexual reasons again over the next 12 months and you are discovered you will be brought back before this court and you know what the consequences will be.

“You should leave this court with your head bowed in shame.”

By Natasha Swift 26th July 2017

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