Wales

Doctor made girl, 15, send him indecent images

Dr Jonathan Bainbridge,
Image caption Dr Jonathan Bainbridge leaving Merthyr Crown Court on Friday

A consultant who persuaded a vulnerable 15-year-old girl to send him indecent images of herself has been given a community order.

Father-of-two Dr Jonathan Bainbridge, 39, drove 200 miles to meet the girl for sex, believing she was aged 16, Merthyr Crown Court was told.

He admitted possession of images of a child aged under 16.

Bainbridge, from Cardiff, was spared jail after the court was told his actions cost him his family.

The consultant radiologist for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board had entered into conversations with the girl on an internet chat room, the court heard.

'Catastrophic circumstances'

Judge Eleri Rees QC said the child was "especially vulnerable" and she was in local authority care.

The police were alerted after the girl told care staff that she had met up with a man in March last year.

The judge said it was "shocking that someone held in high respect in the medical profession and a mature man could not have showed better judgement".

She added: "You, at the age of 39, started a sexualised conversation with her, she presented herself as 16 and looked that age.

"You have brought catastrophic circumstances on yourself with the break up of your young family and you have also jeopardised your career."

The court heard Bainbridge had an addiction to internet chat rooms and was seeking treatment.

He pleaded guilty to possession of a moving image and a still image of a child under the age of 16.

NSPCC Cymru said online networks should take responsibility for children's safety on their platforms "as a matter of urgency".

"This case highlights how social networks have become a gateway for abusers to carry out offences against children," a spokesperson said.

"As a doctor, Bainbridge would have been well aware of the damage that his actions would have caused to his young victim.

"It's happening to children of all ages and it's happening with disturbing frequency."

Bainbridge received an 18 month community order and will have to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work.

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