Devon

Retired Cornwall PC found with child sex images

Robert Branney
Image caption Robert Branney worked for Devon and Cornwall Police, protecting children from sexual abuse

A retired police officer whose role involved protecting children from abuse was found in possession of indecent images of children as young as six.

Robert Branney, formerly of Devon and Cornwall Police, said he was addicted to the images, and also admitted having an image of a sex act with a dog.

The 69-year-old has been handed an eight-month suspended jail sentence at Truro Crown Court.

Judge Christopher Harvey Clark said he had brought shame on his family.

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The judge asked how he could "sink so low" and said he should leave the court "with your head bowed in shame".

Branney, of Treverbyn Gardens, St Austell, Cornwall, admitted possessing indecent images of children, making an indecent image, and possessing an extreme image portraying a sexual act with an animal.

Visited chat rooms

The court heard Branney had been a police officer for 28 years, and spent four years working in child protection, helping to protect children from sexual abuse from adults.

Nigel Hall, prosecuting, said Branney, who retired in 2001, had visited chat rooms to talk to other offenders before his arrest in August last year.

When police went to his home, Branney said: "I know why you're here."

The officers said "why?" and he replied "child pornography".

Police inspected his laptop computer and found four of the most severe category A images, a category A film and 36 category C images.

He told police he "dreamt of getting rid of it all" but it was like an addiction.

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