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North Devon children’s doctor imprisoned for three years over child pornography

PUBLISHED: 13:25 20 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:34 20 March 2017

Jonathan Walsh has been sentenced today at Exeter Crown Court.

Jonathan Walsh has been sentenced today at Exeter Crown Court.

Archant

The former paediatrician at North Devon District Hospital, Jonathan Walsh, has been sentenced to three years in prison today (Monday) over child pornography.

A North Devon paediatrician has been sentenced to three years in prison for possessing, distributing and making indecent images of children.

Jonathan Walsh, 47, of Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, and formally of Barnstaple, was arrested following a police investigation launched in September 2015.

Walsh pleaded guilty at Exeter Crown Court today (Monday) to 17 charges which included nine counts of distributing indecent images of children and six counts of making indecent images of children.

The vast majority of the charges related to ‘Category A’ images which are the most serious in their nature.

Police have worked closely with the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust throughout this case and confirmed none of these crimes relate to contact offences, and none of the images relate to patients at North Devon District Hospital.

Detective Inspector Andrea Kingdon, from the Force Child Exploitation Unit, said: “We are pleased with today’s sentence and I would like to thank our partner agencies, North Devon Healthcare Trust, for their assistance throughout this investigation.

Jonathan Walsh Jonathan Walsh

“I would also like to thank the investigation teams who worked tenaciously to bring about today’s result in bringing this offender to justice.

“Jonathan Walsh was working in a position of responsibility where he had a duty to protect children and young people, yet he choose to commit crimes with the possession and sharing of indecent images of children which leads to the abuse of some of the most vulnerable in our society.

“Whilst these may not have been contact offenses, the viewing and sharing of these types of images directly leads to the abuse of the most vulnerable in our society – Dr Walsh is as responsible as those who film and take part in this horrific abuse of children.

“I hope that this case sends out a strong message to those using the internet for deviant purposes that we have the capability to use advanced technology and expert help to uncover the truth and bring offenders to justice.”

Walsh was removed from his position at North Devon District Hospital when police launched their investigation.

The NSPCC has urged anyone who is concerned about the welfare of a child or young person to call them.

North Devon District Hospital, Barnstaple. North Devon District Hospital, Barnstaple.

An NSPCC South West spokesman said: “Although it has been acknowledged that none of the images related to patients at the hospital, Walsh was working in a position of significant responsibility and trust when he committed these crimes.

“Behind every image of online abuse is a child who has suffered a horrific ordeal in the real world.

“It’s clear from Walsh’s extensive library that his only care was his own twisted gratification and it is right that he now faces the consequences of his actions.”

Any adult concerned about the welfare of a child or young person can call the NSPCC helpline for free, 24/7, on 0808 800 5000. Meanwhile, children can call Childline on 0800 1111.

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