Cambridgeshire

Police chaplain's jail term over child images reduced

Stephen Talbot
Image caption Former police chaplain Stephen Talbot had been jailed for 15 months

A former chaplain with Cambridgeshire Police who admitted making and possessing indecent images of children has had his sentence cut by six months.

Stephen Talbot, 63, from Little Downham, Cambridgeshire, was jailed for 15 months in February but the sentence has been cut on appeal to nine months.

Three judges at the Criminal Court of Appeal ruled the jail term was too long but refused to suspend it.

Talbot also admitted perverting the course of justice.

'Too tough'

Talbot, whose wife was the rector of Little Downham near Ely, resigned from his police role on 1 October and was arrested the same day.

The court was told he had first tried to destroy a computer hard drive, knowing it contained images of children.

Prosecutor John Farmer told the court Talbot had accessed online pornography between 2009 and 2014 and "developed an interest in eight to 16-year-olds".

The case came to light when he had problems with his internet connection in September 2014, the court heard.

'So exceptional'

Talbot's barrister Mark McDonald argued the sentence was too tough and should have been suspended.

He said both Talbot and his wife had lost their jobs and had to move out of the area.

The police would not have known about his crimes, or the destroyed hard drive, but for Talbot's own confession, Mr McDonald added.

Mr Justice Spencer said a jail term was correct for the "serious offence" of destroying the hard drive.

But he added: "We are persuaded that the circumstances of this case were so exceptional that a more modest starting point could have been taken by the judge."

The judge, sitting with Lord Justice Lloyd Jones and Judge Eleri Rees, said Talbot had already served most of his new, nine-month, sentence and would shortly be freed.

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