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UK: Child pornography expert jailed for abusing girls

Publish Date: 17 Mar 2004

Source: Independent Digital (UK) Ltd
By: Caroline Gammell. PA News

An expert in child pornography who lectured the Metropolitan Police on how to protect children was jailed for seven years today for subjecting three young girls to "systematic sexual abuse".

He had sex with one who was just 10 years old, a court heard.

Stephen King, 54, lived a double life, recommending appropriate sentences for paedophiles while, at the same time, carrying out a catalogue of sexual offences against the trio.

King, also known as Gosling, of Hurst Street, Herne Hill, south London, has pleaded guilty to 21 counts including sex with a girl under 13 years, 10 counts of indecent assault, six charges of indecency with a child and four counts of taking indecent photographs of a child.

Peter Zinner, prosecuting, told Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court that King had portrayed himself as an expert in child protection and had conveyed his "expertise" to the Crown Prosecution Service, Metropolitan Police and other relevant agencies.

He was even credited in the final recommendations in the Court of Appeal on offering advice on sentences for paedophiles.

"Behind that veneer of respectability there was a dark secret," said Mr Zinner. For years, King had carried out "systematic sexual abuse on under-age girls".

The prosecution said King had taken more than 500 indecent photographs, had kept a video showing acts of indecency with the girls and had kept a diary detailing each sexual encounter.

Mr Zinner described the video as unique because "it is the first time that the police have an actual record of a paedophile grooming and conditioning a child and then committing acts of sexual abuse".

The recommendations made by King in 2002 to the Sentence Advisory Panel regarding child protection were adopted by the Law Society, the Bar Council and the Probation Service.

Mr Zinner told the court that the offences King committed were carried out between October 1996 and the end of 1999.

The three girls were aged between nine and 13 were now 16, 17 and 18 years old respectively.

Mr Zinner said all three victims had been deeply traumatised by the experience, with the middle girl attempting suicide by taking an overdose and slashing her wrists with broken glass.

The eldest girl felt guilty and responsible because she thought she should have protected the younger two.

Investigation into King began in July last year but police officers arrived at his home on suspicion of benefit fraud.

While at the property, one officer noted pornographic material by the defendant's computer.

He alerted Scotland Yard's Paedophile Unit, who searched the property in greater detail and unearthed the catalogue of sexual documents King had kept.

They also traced a locked box belonging to the defendant, which contained the damning video.

Police discovered that King had been convicted at Tower Bridge Magistrates' Court in 1989 - under a different name - of gross indecency as well as making indecent material and was sentenced to six months in jail.

King was also investigated in 1999 on suspicion of indecent assault against the three girls involved in this case, but not enough evidence was found to prosecute.

Police officers found King's version of the investigation in the diary and a description of "how he got away with it in 1999", said Mr Zinner.

The court heard that police recovered 565 indecent photographs from the defendant's house, ranging in their level of indecency.

King, who was sentenced to eight months imprisonment last October for benefit fraud, sat with his head bowed throughout.

In mitigation, defence counsel William Nash said it was important to note there was no evidence of coercion of the three girls.

Mr Nash said although King recorded the video, he did not have the means to play it and had not viewed the tape since it was shot.

The defence stressed King did not have Internet access at home and had not posted any of the photographs on the web, nor did he have any intentions of doing so.

Mr Nash said King was fully remorseful and hopes to be able to apologise to the girls one day.

Realising it was highly likely he would receive a substantial prison sentence, Mr Nash said King was willing to undergo the appropriate rehabilitation programmes as well as pursue educational interests.

His defence alluded briefly to a troubled childhood which may have contributed towards explaining why King had carried out such acts.

© 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd