Ex-paedophile group leader Freeman jailed over child rape drawings

image captionSteven Freeman, 56, admitted charges relating to 3,000 "vile" drawings

The former leader of a paedophile group has been jailed for possessing indecent pictures, films and drawings of children.

Steven Freeman, who led the Paedophile Information Exchange (Pie), became the first person to be convicted for making drawings of children being raped.

The 56-year-old admitted charges relating to 3,000 drawings at his home in Bellingham, south London, last May.

He was given an indeterminate term for public protection at the Old Bailey.

'Vile and disgusting'

He was given a minimum term of 30 months after he pleaded guilty to specimen charges of possessing indecent images, having prohibited drawings, distributing indecent images and failing to disclose the password for an encrypted computer.

The images were described at the Old Bailey as "vile and disgusting" and were amongst the worst police had seen.

Approximately 14,500 pictures and films were found on computer disks there and at the address of two of his paedophile ring.

Detectives believe tens of thousands more were stored on encrypted computer hard-drives which they have been unable to gain access to.

Officers from the Child Abuse Command also found computer games where players tried to abuse as many children as possible.

Indecent material

Three others were also jailed on Thursday.

John Morrison, 44, of Putney, south-west London, was jailed for 24 months after pleading guilty to having indecent images and failure to disclose a computer password.

John Parratt, 63, of the same address, a former vice chairman of Pie, who was also known as Warren Middleton, was jailed for 12 months after being convicted of having indecent images.

Barry Cutler, 60, of Beckenham, south-east London, pleaded guilty to three offences of having indecent images and failure to provide a password, and was jailed for 15 months.

Leo Adamson, 49, of Vauxhall, south London, a former executive member of Pie, was found guilty of failure to disclose a computer password, and was jailed for a year at an earlier hearing.

Mark Gadsden, prosecuting, told the court: "These defendants were paedophiles who would regularly meet up at Steven Freeman's address to view images of children - specifically boys."

He said some of the images had been burned onto discs so they could be viewed later by some of the accused.

Significant threat

More than 5,000 images were found on three discs at the home shared by Parratt and Morrison after a police raid in July 2008.

The judge, Recorder Oliver Sells, told Freeman: "You were at the centre of this network intent upon possessing and distributing serious forms of indecent material."

Det Insp Paul Maddocks said: "I am delighted with these convictions which have seen five individuals who pose a significant threat to society convicted and held accountable for the most serious of crimes.

The prosecution, under the 2009 Coroners and Justice Act which incorporated sketches, was described as a landmark case by Scotland Yard.

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