'Art' claim Canterbury man jailed for child abuse

A former Canterbury councillor who compared his haul of indecent images of children to works of art has been jailed for 15 months.

Martin Fisher, 61, told police: "Some people like Picasso. I like pictures of children with no clothes on," Canterbury Crown Court was told.

The ex-city councillor, of Whitstable, admitted five counts of sexual assault, including three on a girl under 13.

He also admitted 11 counts relating to making and possessing indecent images.

Police, who launched an investigation after one of his victims reported him, said the insurance underwriter initially denied his collection was indecent.

Change of plea

Det Con Richard Allen said after the case: "When Fisher was arrested and interviewed, he admitted accessing and printing the images and stories but he said he didn't accept they were indecent.

"He felt they were artistic. In fact, he said during the course of one interview, 'Some people like Picasso. I like pictures of children with no clothes on'."

Fisher, of Queen's Road, Whitstable, initially denied the sexual-assault allegations, but changed his plea to guilty during a hearing on 20 June.

Det Ch Insp Paul Fotheringham, head of East Kent CID, said: "Throughout the investigation, Fisher refused to accept that he was sexually interested in children, despite using search engines on his computers to look for sites specifically involving sex with children.

"He maintained that indecent pictures and explicit paedophilic stories were art.

"He has also since claimed that he pleaded guilty to save his victims the trauma of going to court and that he was also a victim in the case.

"We wholeheartedly dispute that."

The detective added: "Hopefully, following today's sentence, he now understands that this behaviour is not acceptable and the only victims in this case are the people he sexually assaulted."

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