Council officer spared jail for indecent images of children

Robert Finlay Robert Finlay was placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years

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A senior officer working in children's services has been spared a prison term after he admitted making more than 600 indecent images of children.

Robert Finlay, 53, of Barnes Crescent, Bournemouth, pleaded guilty to 17 counts of making the images between January 2009 and April.

He was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, at Bournemouth Crown Court.

The NSPCC's Jon Brown said jail would have sent a "much stronger message".

The court heard 94 of the 601 images were rated at level four and five - the most serious.

Finlay was placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years.

'Dreadful pictures'

He was also made the subject of a sexual offences prevention order which includes preventing him from using any device capable of accessing the internet, unless it can store internet history or is made available on request to the police.

Finlay was dismissed from his post as children's services programme leader at Bournemouth Borough Council.

Jon Brown, head of strategy for sexual abuse at children's charity NSPCC, said a suspended sentence was "not enough" for the "incredibly huge haul of dreadful pictures".

"A jail term would have sent a much stronger message that this is a very serious crime," he said.

Jane Portman, council executive director for children and adults, said she was "surprised" at the suspended sentence.

She added: "This has been a difficult time for all those in children's services and many in the wider council.

"This brings closure of the matter and allows everyone to move on."

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