Former church volunteer found with indecent and prohibited images of children

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple - Credit: Archant

Barnstaple man pleaded guilty to four counts of possessing more than 100 images.

A FORMER volunteer at a church youth group has pleaded guilty to having at least 60 indecent images of children and possessing at least 42 prohibited images of children.

Joseph Lock, 38, of Rackfield Court, Barnstaple, admitted downloading the prohibited images from Google out of ‘morbid curiosity’.

North Devon Magistrates’ Court heard today (Fri) the church Lock volunteered at had tried to run a criminal record check on him but it had taken some time.

Instead, they looked at his computer and found search terms for ‘pre teen nude’ and notified the police, who seized his computer.

At his home address, a laptop and mobile phone were seized, and police discovered 60 indecent images, and 42 prohibited images of children.

They also seized a number of printed out stories, which although did not form part of the charges brought against Lock, were ‘of concern’, said prosecutor Karen Ball.

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In interview, Lock told officers he had downloaded the images of young teens out of curiosity from Google images.

Of the images, 10 were found on the church computer, and 51 indecent images and 43 prohibited images were found on his mobile phone.

Laurence Overend, defending, said Lock no longer went to the church, which he had been attending regularly for some years, or the church youth group.

However, a member of the church was present in court to support Lock.

Magistrates adjourned the sentencing for a report to be carried out by probation, and released Lock on conditional bail.

His bail states he must have no contact with or unsupervised access to children under the age of 16.

He will appear before magistrates in Barnstaple at 3pm on Friday, April 12.

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