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Ramsgate former church warden David Turner admits trying to import child sex doll

A former school governor and church warden has admitted importing and having sex with a doll which depicted a realistic-looking child.

David Turner, 72, who pleaded guilty to having illegal sex images of children at an earlier hearing, is now facing a possible jail sentence after a judge deemed the doll "obscene" in a landmark case.

After legal discussions with his barrister Dean George at Canterbury Crown Court, Turner pleaded guilty to being “knowingly concerned” with the illegal importation of a child sex toy in March last year.

David Turner arrives at court
David Turner arrives at court

After today's hearing, Judge Simon James asked to see the offensive item in his chambers – in the company of senior police officers.

Turner was arrested after Border Force officers intercepted a 3ft doll from China through Stansted which Turner claimed was a mannequin.

It came with a fishnet body-stocking.

When National Crime Agency officers searched Turner's home in December they discovered two child sex dolls in his study and that he had searched websites selling items advertised as "flat chest love doll" and "mini silicone sex doll 65cms little breasts".

The charge relates to a 3ft 10in doll that was already in his possession, and which he had bought clothes for.

When questioned Turner told detectives his preference was to view indecent images of children aged four to 10 and he had "secretly" taken photographs of girls aged six to 11 in public places.

Judge Simon James
Judge Simon James

Officers also found 29 fictional stories - which described sexual abuse of children but fell outside the Obscene Publications Act - when they searched Turner's home.

After being arrested Turner resigned as a school governor of St Ethelbert's Church Primary School in Margate and from St Ethelbert's and Gertrude Church where he was a warden.

Turner, of Hollicondane Road, Ramsgate, had failed to show up for an interview with a probation officer for the preparation of a report looking at the level of threat he posed to children.

But he admitted possessing or making more than 34,000 illegal child sex images and movies last November.

Turner had denied an eighth charge of possessing 25 extreme pornographic images and the Crown Prosecution Service accepted his plea.

Hazel Stewart, from the NCA CEOP Specialist Operation Team, said: "The importation of these child sex dolls is a relatively new phenomenon.

Canterbury Crown Court
Canterbury Crown Court

"We know their purchase can indicate other offences against children, as was the case against Turner who had a sickening stash of abuse images.

"The NCA and Border Force co-ordinate law enforcement activity, carrying out intelligence checks and offering specialist advice every time these indecent and obscene items are seized at the border.

"Importers of such obscene items should expect to have law enforcement closing in on them."

Border Force's Dan Scully, Deputy Director, Intelligence Operations said: "Our front line officers and intelligence teams are vigilant to emerging criminal trends such as the importation of obscene dolls.

"This work is part of the Border Force-led Operation Shiraz.

"The seizure of the offending item led directly to the identification of Turner and ultimately to the uncovering of his criminal interest in children.

"Through our work with law enforcement partners like the NCA, we are committed to preventing the smuggling of obscene articles and bringing those responsible to justice."

Turner was given bail until the next hearing on September 8, with conditions on his access to the internet.

He was warned that he faces an immediate jail sentence.

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