UPDATE: Lincolnshire Police comment after former North Kesteven District Councillor jailed for two years on downloading child porn charges

Ian Dolby. EMN-170815-165603001
Ian Dolby. EMN-170815-165603001

A former North Kesteven District Councillor said to have a “rapacious interest” in downloading pornography was today (Thursday) jailed for two years at Lincoln Crown Court.

Ian Dolby, 52, of North Road, Sleaford, who represented the Quarrington Ward until resigning in April 2014, and was also a member of Sleaford Town Council until the same time, changed his plea on the second day of his trial and admitted 23 charges of making an indecent image of a child. He denied 13 further similar charges which were left on the file after the prosecution decided not to pursue them.

The charges arose from a police search of his home in December 2013 as part of police inquiries following the arrest of Dolby’s then lodger over a completely unconnected matter.

The search revealed a stash of over 700 computer disks containing pornography stored in Dolby’s bedroom. 45 of the disks contained child pornography including more than 500 movies lasting 184 hours. The films were downloaded between 2010 and 2013.

As well as being jailed Dolby was placed on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years and given a sexual harm prevention order intended to control his behaviour when released from his sentence.

Judge Simon Hirst told him: “You have done everything you possibly could to avoid facing up to your wrong doing.

“This type of offending is not victimless in any way. Every still photograph and every frame of a film has the face of a child who has been sexually abused in the most cruel way imaginable.

“In behaving as you did you perpetuated the market and distribution of such images and encouraged the making of more images.”

Mark Knowles, in mitigation, said that around 90 per cent of the material found at Dolby’s home was legitimate adult pornography.

“He is not an individual who deals exclusively in a certain type of material.”

Mr Knowles said Dolby has an obsessive personality.

“He understands that he has a problem. He is desperate to get to the bottom of his difficulties.

“He is very much a loner who spends the majority of his free time in his room on his computer.”

Mr Knowles claimed that Dolby’s book-keeping business which employs five people may be at risk if he received an immediate jail sentence and he could possibly lose his home.

Martin Hurst, prosecuting, said that police officers who initially went to the Dolby’s home discovered framed photographs of naked young girls on the walls and folders containing photographs of young girls.

As a result CID officers were asked to attend and a detailed search was carried out.

Mr Hurst said “They searched the whole house. They searched in particular Dolby’s bedroom and took away quite a lot of things principally electronic devices including a lap top.

“Also in his bedroom they found a very, very substantial library of DVD disks.

“These were DVDs he had made at home. He had burned them from websites he had been visiting on the internet.”

“They contained some of the most offensive material that you can imagine. Forty-five DVDs contained principally or exclusively indecent images of children. The other 687 were dip-tested. There was a vast quantity of adult pornography.

“When asked if there were any indecent images of children on his lap top he said there was a possibility something may have been downloaded accidentally.”

The court was told when Dolby was interviewed he said he tried to make sure that the images he viewed were of girls over the age of 18.

Mr Hurst said: “He made it perfectly clear that he has an interest in looking at sexual pictures of young women. He revealed a rapacious interest in downloading pornography. When he sees something he likes he burns it onto a DVD.

“The prosecution say that this man is a paedophile and that is why he has downloaded this and burned it and stored it.”

The jury had been visibly upset when hearing descriptions of the evidence, and this reaction was visible to everyone in the court according to Judge Hirst.

Judge Hirst said: “Mr Dolby has done everything he can to avoid the consequences. Only when he has been placed now where he has nowhere to go does he plead guilty.”

Dolby’s guilty plea was taken into account when sentencing. The court heard how the offence had lasted over a period of two-to-three years with the act of burning images and films onto discs described as unusual by Judge Hirst.

○ Dolby served as a district councillor for three years until his resignation from the Sleaford Quarrington and Mareham Ward seat on April 3, 2014.

He also stepped down as a town councillor about the same time having served on that authority since 2007, saying it was because of an increasing workload with his Sleaford based book-keeping business - Ian Dolby Business Services - meaning he was unable to attend council meetings.

○ In a police statement issued after Dolby’s sentencing, it was said officers found images on the DVDs and laptop of children aged from 10-16.

PC Donnah Thompson, from the Paedophile On-line Investigation Team, said: “This was a lengthy and time consuming case, at every stage the evidence was challenged by Mr Dolby which required hours of additional work being undertaken; taking officers from other serious investigations. This case involved the largest amount of exhibits that I have had to work with in an indecent image case and I am pleased that Mr Dolby received a custodial sentence to reflect the gravity of his collection of illegal images of children.”

○ Dolby is the second former Sleaford town councillor in three months to be jailed for child pornography offences.

In June, Richard Willis, 51, admitted three charges of distributing indecent images of children, two charges of making indecent images of children and a further charge of taking indecent images of children. He was jailed for 16 months at Lincoln Crown Court in June.

○ Clerk to the Town Council Kevin Martin told The Standard: “As Mr Dolby resigned as a Town Councillor over three years ago the Town Council has no comment to make.”

In a statement, North Kesteven District Council said: “The council carried out its own investigation and found that at no stage did he use its equipment, premises or time to conduct the activities to which he has now pleaded guilty.

“NKDC takes its responsibilities to safeguarding very seriously and is committed to promoting the welfare of children, young people and adults at risk, working proactively with Children’s Services, the Police and other agencies.

“The District Council has its own safeguarding policy that clearly sets out its expectations of employees, contractors, members and anyone working on behalf of/or representing the Council.

“That policy is reviewed on a regular basis to ensure it reflects current protocols of the Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children and Adults Boards and working practices. Our current policy was approved by our Executive Board in January 2017.”