Somerset

Somerset businessman jailed over child porn offences

Martyn Helliwell - Avon and Somerset Constabulary/PA
Image caption Martyn Helliwell was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison

A former business partner of England rugby player Rory Underwood has been jailed for possessing indecent pictures of children.

Martyn Helliwell, 49, was found guilty of 16 counts of making and distributing the images at an earlier hearing at Bristol Crown Court.

Helliwell, from Over Stratton in Somerset, was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

He was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison on Tuesday.

The former naval officer and magistrate was also placed on the sex offenders register and given a sexual offences prevention order.

'Other opportunists'

Helliwell founded the motivational company UPH in 1999 with another man called John Peters, and 1991 world cup winger Mr Underwood, who gave evidence against Helliwell in the trial.

The court heard that the business had "dissolved in light of the publicity surrounding the case".

Opening the trial, prosecutor Adam Vaitilingham said that just under 1,000 indecent images of children were found on Helliwell's computer when his home was searched in November 2007.

He added that Helliwell did not deny the presence of the images, but claimed "other opportunists" must have put them there.

He also denied perverting the course of justice by asking clients and acquaintances for alibis the prosecution said did not match up.

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