Cambridgeshire

Ex-Cambridgeshire Police chaplain Stephen Talbot jailed

Stephen Talbot
Image caption The former police chaplain has been jailed for 15 months and made the subject of a sex offences order

A former chaplain with Cambridgeshire Police who admitted making and possessing indecent images of children has been jailed for 15 months.

Stephen Talbot, 63, from Little Downham, Cambridgeshire, also admitted perverting the course of justice.

Talbot was made the subject of a sexual offenders' prevention order and told to pay £500 costs by a judge at Cambridge Crown Court.

He admitted both charges during a hearing last month.

Image caption Talbot admitted three charges when he appeared at court in Cambridge

Talbot 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.

'Living a double life'

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.

The prosecution said as a result, Talbot believed his internet use was being monitored, so he broke his computer's hard drive into pieces and disposed of it in bins in Ely and Soham.

The next day, on 1 October, he rang Cambridgeshire Police's assistant chief constable and told him he had been "foolish" and admitted it "involved children".

He would later learn the internet connection for the entire village had been down that day.

Image caption Det Supt Gary Ridgway said officers would never know for sure how many images Talbot had accessed

Some of the 14 pictures found on his computer were "at the highest level", Cambridgeshire Police said.

Mark McDonald, who was defending Talbot, said he destroyed the hard drive because he "wanted rid of the offensive material in his life" and immediately sought counselling.

The former Church of England vicar attended the officer training academy Sandhurst and served in Northern Ireland before being ordained in 1989.

His wife was also an Anglican vicar and Mr McDonald said the "catastrophic" result of Talbot's actions was that they had "lost their jobs, their home, their family, their savings, lots of friends and their dignity and respect".

Det Supt Gary Ridgway said it appeared Talbot was "living a double life" and his actions were an "enormous breach of trust".

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