Pervert police officer Phil Richardson who admitted downloading baby rape images spared jail

PUBLISHED: 15:00 21 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:23 21 January 2020

Former March police officer Phil Richardson given a suspended sentence for downloading vile images including the rape of a baby, a court heard on Wednesday. Picture: Archant/FILE

Former March police officer Phil Richardson given a suspended sentence for downloading vile images including the rape of a baby, a court heard on Wednesday. Picture: Archant/FILE

Archant

A former March police officer and scout leader downloaded vile images including the rape of a baby, a court heard today.

Former March police officer Phil Richardson given a suspended sentence for downloading vile images including the rape of a baby, a court heard on Wednesday. Picture: Archant/FILEFormer March police officer Phil Richardson given a suspended sentence for downloading vile images including the rape of a baby, a court heard on Wednesday. Picture: Archant/FILE

But in giving Phillip Richardson a suspended sentence the judge said that being named and humiliated was part of his punishment.

Richardson - who has changed his name to John Nicholls - admitted downloading and distributing sex abuse images of boys.

Judge Barbara Mensah told him: "They are vile, disgusting and cruel images. It amounts to torture.

"The public revulsion and humiliation which you have received is part of your punishment."

Former March police officer Phil Richardson given a suspended sentence for downloading vile images including the rape of a baby, a court heard on Wednesday. Picture: Archant/FILEFormer March police officer Phil Richardson given a suspended sentence for downloading vile images including the rape of a baby, a court heard on Wednesday. Picture: Archant/FILE

Prosecutor Margia Mostafa told Luton crown court that the 49-year-old officer was arrested on May 16 last year by Bedfordshire police who raided the married officer's home in March.

An iPad and three laptops were examined. Officers found 99 Category A still and moving images - the most serious level. There were 208 at Category B and 218 at Category C, the least serious level.

In one image a baby was being raped and in another a 12 year was being orally raped. He had used the internet site Tumblr to distribute a Category B and a Category C image.

When he was interviewed he did not answer police questions, but in a prepared statement he apologised and said he would seek professional help.

Former March police officer Phil Richardson given a suspended sentence for downloading vile images including the rape of a baby, a court heard on Wednesday. Picture: Archant/FILEFormer March police officer Phil Richardson given a suspended sentence for downloading vile images including the rape of a baby, a court heard on Wednesday. Picture: Archant/FILE

Nicholls, who now lives in Doncaster, appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to three charges of making (downloading) indecent photograph/pseudo photographs of a child and two of distributing indecent photographs/pseudo photographs of a child.

He had been a beat bobby and the Fenland licensing officer, before being sacked by Cambridgeshire police on July 3.

In 2011 he told a local community website in March that he wanted the town to be a dangerous place for criminals. He boasted on the ShapeYourPlace website: "I love locking them up, the more I can get off the streets the better the chances of me having a smiley photo."

Defending, Minal Raj said the former officer now works in a call centre. She said he was of previous good character and had an "exemplary record."

Former March police officer Phil Richardson given a suspended sentence for downloading vile images including the rape of a baby, a court heard on Wednesday. Picture: Archant/FILEFormer March police officer Phil Richardson given a suspended sentence for downloading vile images including the rape of a baby, a court heard on Wednesday. Picture: Archant/FILE

She said his wife, who now lives separately from him, had come to support him in court.

"It has been embarrassing for him and his entire family. It has not been an easy ride for her. She has found the situation hurtful," she said.

Ms Raj said Nicholls had experienced traumas in his childhood: a friend had drowned, he saw his vicar die in front of him and he had been abandoned by his father."

Judge Mensah sentenced him to 15 months in jail suspended for two years.

Former March police officer Phil Richardson given a suspended sentence for downloading vile images including the rape of a baby, a court heard on Wednesday. Picture: Archant/FILEFormer March police officer Phil Richardson given a suspended sentence for downloading vile images including the rape of a baby, a court heard on Wednesday. Picture: Archant/FILE

He must attend a 'Horizon' sex offender programme, carry out 20 days of a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and 200 hours' unpaid work. The iPad and Laptops were forfeited and he has 28 days to pay £300 costs.

In addition, he must register as a sex offender and abide by the terms of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.

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