Tuesday, May 17, 2016

London police child abuse officer who said he was ‘really passionate about protecting children’ is jailed for sexually assaulting eight year old girl

A Met police child abuse officer who said he was 'really passionate about protecting children' has been jailed for over five years after he twice sexually assaulted an eight-year-old girl.

Detective Constable Christopher Maitland, 40, had hoped to work with a specific ‘paedophile unit’ and was part of the anti-abuse unit which investigates rapes and serious sexual violence.

Maitland, of Widey View, Plymouth, admitted twice sexually assaulting the girl along with five counts of making and seven of taking indecent images of children, some of which are in the most serious category which includes rape.

Judge Martin Beddoe handed Maitland a total sentence of five years and four months imprisonment and rejected Jonathan Loades’, for Maitland, claims that his client showed ‘great remorse’.

818 indecent images and movies spanning from June 2005 to November 2015 were found on Maitland's laptop.

Maitland, who had described catching paedophiles as his ‘passion’ and his ‘livelihood’, had a private video collection of the girl he assaulted.  The 'gruesome' movies - one of which was taken of the girl after she had just left the shower - were given names like ‘Shy and Naked’ and ‘[Victim’s Name] Gets Fruity]’.

The victim said in a statement that she felt like she had 'lost everything' and added: 'My whole childhood felt as though it had now been deleted.'

The judge said: ‘From all that I have read I am unconvinced that the degree of remorse or your understanding of the gravity and damage that this sort of offending causes is really quite as extensive as Mr Loades sought to impress upon me.’

He also questioned the responses from Maitland to a pre-sentence report created by the probation service.  ‘The account you gave there is in my judgement full of minimisation, full of self-justification and portrays a substantial degree of self-delusion.

‘Given the opportunity you present a very real danger to pre-pubescent children.

‘What is troubling and relevant to the context of what I have already said is that you chose to involve yourself as a police officer in a unit charged with the investigation of crimes against children.

‘It seems a matter of serious concern that you expressed interest in a transfer in due course to a paedophile unit.’

Judge Beddoe also expressed concern for the welfare of Maitland’s victim.  ‘When you did what you did to her back in 2005 and 2006 who is to know what harm your activities would cause.’

The judge added that the victim ‘will never be able to be sure’ that Maitland did not share the videos of her online with others.

Complete silence fell upon the court as Maitland was taken into custody at the end of the hearing.

The sexual assaults took place in Waltham Cross more than ten years ago while the collection of images spans more than a decade.

Szilvia Booker, prosecuting, said: ‘Police discovered information that indecent images were being accessed by a file sharing software which led them to the defendant’s home address.

‘A warrant was executed and when officers visited the home address of Mr Maitland they asked him whether he used a software called ‘Peer-to-Peer’ file sharing.’

Maitland, who was originally arrested last November, explained to them that as an officer who worked in child protection he used such software some time ago but not recently.

Several items including five USB sticks, hard drives, a computer tower and a laptop were seized by police.

When interviewed Maitland denied downloading any images and described catching paedophiles as his 'livelihood’.

Three dates were identified when Maitland had accessed some of the images on which he was off duty and he finally admitted possessing the images when appearing at the Magistrates Court.

More than 200 movies of the most serious category - including child rape - were found on Maitland’s laptop.

‘The video footage all appears to have been videos through surreptitious filming - placing the camera, it would appear, unknown to the subject in them,’ said Ms Booker

One of the videos featured the young girl having just exited the shower and relates to one of the sexual assaults.  ‘She is wet and she is holding a towel. She dries her hair and is chatting to Mr Maitland.  ‘She is naked for the majority of the footage and is drying herself.’

In some of the footage the child appears to be ‘relaxed and happy’ and can be seen dancing to music.  ‘The camera zooms in on her naked body and at times her face cannot even be seen.’

Maitland is himself naked in one of the videos, Miss Booker added.

At an earlier hearing Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith described some of the material on Maitland’s computer as ‘pretty gruesome’.

Mr Loades spoke of the constable’s remorse for his actions but conceded that a custodial sentence was inevitable.

The barrister said: ‘His actions purported an evil trade and the continuing sexual abuse of children.  ‘He recognises that if there were not customers this material would not be produced.’

The officer has currently been suspended from duty and is certain to be thrown out of the force.

Maitland was sentenced to five years and four months for two counts of sexual assault of a child under 13 and possessing indecent images of children. He has also been handed an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.

Original report here

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