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HomeNewsInternational NewsEx-MP Paul Clark jailed after distributing child abuse images

Ex-MP Paul Clark jailed after distributing child abuse images

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(The Guardian) A former Labour MP has been jailed for more than two years after he downloaded and distributed images of children as young as three being raped.

Paul Clark, 66, who represented his home town of Gillingham, Kent, in parliament, had more than 1,000 images and movie clips across five electronic devices that showed serious acts of abuse.

He also engaged in sexually explicit online chats in which he shared a number of the images, Maidstone crown court heard.

The court was told that none of his offending took place while he was an MP from 1997 to 2010.

Clark became the first Labour MP for the Kent constituency, overturning a Conservative majority in the 1997 election. He was immediately made a junior minister in Tony Blair’s government, working as a parliamentary private secretary for a number of cabinet ministers at the time including John Prescott and Ed Balls.

When he was arrested by the National Crime Agency at his Gillingham home in May 2021, he told officers: “I know why you’re here. I kept telling myself to stop.”

Last December, he pleaded guilty to three offences including making indecent photos of children between April 2013 and May 2021; and distribution between October 2020 and May 2021.

The prosecutor Daniel Stevenson told the court there were two “distinct periods of offending”, with 20 images downloaded in 2013, and the majority downloaded during the coronavirus lockdown.

In total, Clark had 298 category A images – the most serious classification – 415 category B and 733 category C images, found on two iPhones, an HP laptop, a hard drive and Acer computer tower. Of these, 343 were videos, with 141 classed as category A.

Stevenson said: “The age range of children was between three and 16, mostly relating to females although there was at least one image of a six-year-old male child.”

The prosecutor said there were “two significant chatlogs” used to discuss the sexual abuse of children, during which he and two other users shared explicit videos and images.

Judge Philip Statman said the case represented “a tragic fall for someone who had put the community first”, adding his offending was so serious that jail was inevitable.

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