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Ex-scout leader Richard Cumberland swapped indecent photos with girl, 11, on chatroom


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Maidstone crown court
Maidstone crown court

Maidstone Crown Court, where Cumberland was sentenced

by Keith Hunt

The father of a pervert who engaged in sexual activity over the internet with an 11-year-old schoolgirl and downloaded child porn wept after a 12-month prison sentence was imposed.

Richard Cumberland sobbed as he was led to the cells: “I’m sorry mum and dad. I love you.”

The 24-year-old former scout team leader’s father replied: “I do too, son. I don’t think it’s your fault, it’s society’s fault.”

Cumberland, of Limes Place, Preston Street, Faversham, admitted causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and two offences of possessing indecent photographs of a child.

Maidstone Crown Court heard Cumberland made contact with the girl in a chatroom in September 2011 and asked her to send him explicit pictures.

Ian Foinette, prosecuting, said the girl also asked Cumberland for revealing photos of him and he sent her one of his private parts.

Judge Philip Statman commented that the girl “seems to have had a good understanding of sexual activity”.

Mr Foinette said she obtained a revealing photo from the internet and sent it to Cumberland to make him believe it was of her.

"i have been a bad boy dad. i am so sorry" – richard cumberland

“He sent photographs of himself naked in various poses,” he continued. “The messages continued for some time.”

Police went to Cumberland’s home after they were contacted by officers from West Mercia, where the girl lived. When his computer was examined almost 300 images of child sex abuse, some at the highest levels of four and five, were found.

He admitted: “I put my hands up to that. I am sorry, it’s child pornography.” He told his father: “I have been a bad boy dad. I am so sorry.”

Ben Walker-Nolan, defending, said Cumberland blamed himself for his father suffering a heart attack in September last year.

Cumberland left school with GCSEs and worked as a stonemason and tree surgeon. He had carried out voluntary work with Faversham Christmas Lights Committee.

Judge Statman said some of the pictures that passed between Cumberland and the girl were “graphic in the extreme”.

“She displayed a full and copious understanding of things sexual and was more than happy to discuss what she would like to do and what you would like to do.

“I well understand that young people these days express themselves in a way which when I was a young person would never have been dreamed of.

“Nevertheless, I take society as it stands today. Over and above all that, however, the fact is the victim was a child. This court has a duty to ensure children in our community are protected.”

The judge imposed a sexual offences prevention order and Cumberland will remain on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years. He will also be barred form working with children.

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