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Ex-scout leader David Hopkins shared child images with paedophile James Peck: Court

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Maidstone Crown Court. Picture John Wardley
Maidstone Crown Court. Picture John Wardley

A predatory paedophile and a former Cub Scout master shared sickening images of child abuse, a court heard.

James Peck, who was once convicted of using public library computers to set up a child porn website, used references such as “14 and really cute”, “alias 11 years old” and “10-year-old boy and 15” for the photographs found on a phone, DVD disks and memory sticks.

Maidstone Crown Court heard the phone was one of two found among Peck’s belongings at the former Essex home he had shared with another sex offender he met while in prison, and at an address in Bright Road, Chatham.

Three disks and two memory sticks, which had been hidden in a pair of binoculars and a magnifying glass, were also discovered at the sheltered housing home of one-time Hawkinge Scout leader David Hopkins.

The 75-year-old, who was jailed for 10 years in 2003 for 25 sexual offences against young boys, later told police he was “quite sickened” by the images Peck had downloaded in his presence.

Hopkins, of St Anne’s Court, Maidstone, admitted four offences of possessing indecent images between April and May last year.

Peck, 32, of Queenborough Road, Sheerness, admitted six offences of possessing indecent photographs of children and three breaches of a sexual offences prevention order, namely using or having equipment capable of accessing the Internet.

"The (probation report) author pulls no punches and expresses the clear view that you are a very high risk of harm to male children" - Judge Martin Joy

Peck, who also admitted two offences of fraud in April last year, was jailed for a total of 21 months. Hopkins was given eight months behind bars suspended for two years.

Passing sentence Judge Martin Joy said the two men had "different involvement" in the offences, with different records of offending.

But he added that although the probation report on Peck was "somewhat disturbing" in light of his sexual obession with young children, it did not fulfil strict criteria which would enable him to brand Peck dangerous in the legal sense and impose an indeterminate sentence for public protection.

This was despite the report's author stating that Peck posed a significant risk.

"The report author is extremely realistic and indeed of the view that you are a predatory paedophile," said Judge Joy.

"The author pulls no punches and expresses the clear view that you are a very high risk of harm to male children."

As part of his sentence Hopkins must attend the Thames Valley sex offender treatment programme.

Both men were made subject to sexual offences prevention orders and must sign on the sex offender register.

Prosecutor Andrew Forsyth told the court the images were both stills and movie clips and covered all levels of seriousness.

They featured a boy as young as three, pre-pubescent boys performing various sex acts and a teenage boy being abused by a male adult.

Peck had a total of 367 and Hopkins had 156.

The old Maidstone library
The old Maidstone library

Peck was jailed in 2004 for three years, with an extended licence period of five years, for making, distributing and inciting the distribution of indecent images.

He had used public library computers in Tunbridge Wells, Rochester, Chatham and Maidstone to set up his own website inviting people to upload images of naked, young boys with the restriction that they not appear older than 14.

Hopkins was previously jailed for the systematic abuse of dozens of young boys over a period of almost 30 years.

In 2003 Maidstone Crown Court heard he kept diaries of what was described as his "debauchery and corruption", with details such as victims' names, how often they were abused, locations and positions.

One boy was said to have been abused almost 300 times over six years.

Hopkins, then of Skeete Road, Lyminge, admitted 20 charges of indecent assault between 1961 and 1989, four of taking indecent photographs and one serious sex offence.

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