Jail for Thanet council CCTV operator Andrew Selfridge who hid thousands of abuse images and fantasised about child rape
An award-winning CCTV operator with Thanet District Council has been sent to prison for his vile sex secret.
Andrew Selfridge was given a High Sheriff’s Award for tracking down a gunman after a shooting.
But now it has been revealed while he was helping keep the streets safe, he was searching for internet pornography at work.
A CCTV centre. Library picture
A sweep of council computers revealed the married former special constable had been accessing perverted images.
When his home in St Francis Close, Margate, was raided last year, officers discovered almost 3,000 images of abuse stored in files marked “jail time” and “X files”.
Prosecutor Donna East told Canterbury Crown Court some of the images, including pictures of children as young as two, were in the worst category – level five.
Selfridge, who admitted nine illegal image offences, was jailed for nine months, despite a probation recommendation he receive a community order.
But Judge Heather Norton heard that as well as accessing the images he also posed as a school girl in an internet chatroom.
And he had shared with another sick pervert his fantasies of abducting a school girl, drugging her and filming the rape.
Judge Norton told him: “Those discussions also suggested that images had been exchanged.
“Those conversations may well have been fantasy on your part. But the fact that you were having them is extremely disturbing.
The case was heard by Judge Heather Norton
“It was the probation report writer’s view you did that out of boredom . . . because you wanted someone to talk to and there had been no sexual motivation.”
Judge Norton said she rejected that conclusion because boredom would not lead someone to access illegal websites and express sick fantasies about child rape.
“Looking at and talking about the abuse of children is not a victimless crime. It is an abhorrent crime which perpetuates the abuse of children.”
Selfridge’s wife sat in the public gallery and heard details of the CCTV operator’s online fantasies in explicit detail.
Kerry Waitt, defending, said she is standing by her husband who was now “thoroughly ashamed of his actions”.
“He was living in a fantasy world. He says he was set on a course of self-destruction, oblivious to all on the outside and to the consequences.”
Selfridge left the Army in 1999 after a distinguished career and has worked as a CCTV operator for the past 13 years.
The trial is being heard at Canterbury Crown Court
Three years ago he received his High Sheriff’s Award for alerting police after witnessing a man being shot in the face in Camden Square, Ramsgate.
He tracked the gunman to an address and told police officers. He was later rewarded by a judge for the “prompt, efficient and professional manner in which he had acted”.
He said at that time: “It’s always nice to be recognised for your work, but I felt slightly embarrassed and humbled.
“All of the CCTV operators can regale you with tales of the things they’ve seen: some of them funny, some horrific and some that just make you wonder.”
“He was living in a fantasy world. He says he was set on a course of self-destruction, oblivious to all on the outside and to the consequences” - prosecutor Kerry Waitt
Judge Norton told him he had been a man of “exemplary character who had served as a community warden, a special constable and a CCTV operator after his 14-year distinguished Army career.
“Your work for several decades has been about protection and the prevention of crime, yet for a sustained period you have been committing these offences.”
She said she would reduce the sentence in recognition of the “work you have done in the service of your country and to others”.
He will have to spend the next 10 years on the sex offender's register and is now not allowed unsupervised access to children for the next five years.
His computer and its internet history will also be available for regular inspection by police.
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