Former special sergeant given suspended sentence for making indecent images of children
A former Northamptonshire Police special sergeant has been given a 12-month suspended sentence after pleading guilty to making a total of 80 indecent images of children.
Sentencing Ross Coleman at Leicester Crown Court, Judge Rhona Campbell condemned him for “providing a market for images of the sexual abuse of children”.
While serving as a volunteer with the force, a warrant was executed at the former family home of 42-year-old Coleman in Higham Ferrers on October 23, 2018.
A number of items were seized, including his personal mobile phone, which contained thumbnail images representing videos Coleman had streamed to his Smart TV to watch.
Over a two-year period, Coleman had downloaded 80 files, some containing sexual abuse of girls as young as four, 45 of which were deemed to be the most severe level of indecent images – category A.
In addition to these, there were 20 images which were classed category B and 15 category C, along with more than 100 other files of similar names which had also been accessed over the same period.
On Monday (January 20), Coleman was convicted of three offences of making indecent images of a child between October 2016 and October 2018, and was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.
He was also ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid community service and complete 35 days of rehabilitation activities. In addition he will be the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO), which will restrict his access to the internet.
Judge Campbell said: “What everybody who pleads guilty has to realise is that these crimes have victims. If people like you did not sit in your house watching this material there would not be any need for any vulnerable, poor little children to be taken from their families and be sexually abused. These children will all be immensely affected by this type of offending.”
Coleman resigned from his role as special sergeant with Northamptonshire Police in February 2019, however, following the conclusion of the criminal proceedings, he will now face a gross misconduct hearing.
Detective Constable Jason Cullum, who led the investigation, said: “I am pleased this case has concluded and that justice has been done. It serves as a warning to anybody who thinks they can look at indecent images of children and go unnoticed.
“It is doesn’t matter who you are or what you do. You can expect a knock on your door from a police officer and from that moment onwards your whole life will be turned upside down. You are likely to lose your family, your home and your job, as Coleman did.
“More importantly, every indecent image of a child is an image of a victim. These are images of child abuse and perpetuate more offending against the most vulnerable in our society.
“This is why we have a team of experts dedicated to catching offenders and bringing them to justice.”