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Home Deal News Article
A Scout leader has been jailed for nine months for downloading more than 2,500 indecent pictures of children being sexually abused – some as young as two.
Peter Turner, 56, was highly respected by countless boys and girls at the Deal 12th (Kingsdown) Cub group.
But his voluntary position as Akela there was not enough to protect him when his vile secrets were discovered.
In March last year, police raided the home Turner shared with his mother and brother in Kingsdown Road, St Margaret's.
He claimed when he searched the internet for "models", he was looking for images of trains.
But police officers did not believe him and took his computer away for analysis.
They found sick images of children as young as four being abused – 15 at the worst level five, 329 at level four, 359 level three, 95 level two and 1,800 at level one.
Turner pleaded guilty to five charges of making and possessing indecent images at Canterbury Crown Court.
"I wish I was dead and don't care any more... my life is over. I must have been out of my mind..." - ex-Scout leader Peter Turner
Now, in addition to his jail term, Turner is expected to be banned from working with children for life.
He wrote to his lawyers: "I wish I was dead... my life is over. I must have been out of my mind."
He admitted all the charges, including downloading sex images of a two-year-old child.
Prosecutor Alex Rooke told the court Kent Police received a tip-off from officers in Gloucestershire.
"He told officers he had been putting in the terms 'models' into the internet search engine, which was to do with his interest in railway information, but that had brought up pictures of girls.
"He said he would navigate away from them and didn't save them. He said he was a Scout leader and had downloaded images to do with Scouting."
Mr Rooke said the computer was forensically examined and more than 2,500 images were discovered.
Turner later wrote a letter to his lawyers, which was read out to the court, saying: "When it all started I was mad that these sites said they were legal... one site led to another. At no time did I pay anyone.
"Before I knew it I was downloading more and more. I can't believe how I could have done this without knowing.
"I wish I was dead and don't care any more. As far as I'm concerned, my life is over. I have never harmed a kid in my life. I still can't think of what happened. I must have been out of my mind."
Niall Doherty, defending, said Turner was "deeply ashamed" and had turned to downloading the illegal images out of boredom.
But Judge Simon James told the Scout leader he had been accessing vile images at a time when he was looking after children of a similar age.
"I regard that as a substantial aggravating feature and what is clear is that you have little insight into your behaviour," he said.
"It is impossible to conclude other than the fact you have an underlying sexual interest in children.
"Right-minded people are entitled to ask the courts that those who seek out these vile abuse images should receive real and meaningful punishment."
Turner was also ordered to sign the sex offenders' register for 10 years and given a sex offenders' prevention order to protect children in future.
Scout Association spokesman Chris Foster said it "condemns the actions of Turner".
He added: "Turner was suspended from any form of contact with the movement as soon as we were informed by police.
“We can confirm that he will never again be allowed to work within the Scout movement."
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