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EX-COUNCIL CHIEF AVOIDS JAIL DESPITE GUILTY PLEA OVER CHIL PORN IMAGES


A


former council boss caught with over 5,000 child pornography images fantasised about


having sex with children on internet chatrooms. Lawyer Andrew Laycock, the former Head of


Legal Services at Hertfordshire County Council, chatted with other paedophiles on MSN. Last month the 59-year-old escaped jail after a judge heard that he had been attending courses to help him overcome his long-term perversion. Prosecutor Peter Shaw told St Albans crown


court that police armed with a search warrant raided the home Laycock shared with his wife and two step sons in Hertford at 6.45am in the on 22 June last year. Laycock, who had answered the door, said he


was responsible for the images and no-one else. His Applemac computer was analysed and found to contain images, mostly of young girls aged between 10 and 14. A total of 4,634 were at Level 1, 121 at Level 2,


516 at Level 3, 370 at Level 4 and 79 at Level 5 - the most serious level. All were images and none were movies. In all there were 5,720 images. In a police interview Laycock confessed that


Andrew Laycock.


his dark secret had gone on since he was a teenager. "He said he had interacted with other adults on MSN messenger and had talked to other adults about having sex with children. He admitted the fantasies involved children as young as seven or eight, " said Mr Shaw. Laycock of Mandeville Road, Hertford, had


pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to 17 counts of making indecent images of children and one count of possessing more than 5,700 indecent images during June last year. He was supported by his wife in the public gallery at the court. Dee Connolly, defending, said Laycock had


taken up the police advice at the time of his interview and attended courses at the Lucy Faithful Foundation that aims to rid people of their addiction to child sex abuse images. She said: "He was extremely full and frank in


his admissions and took the offer to get help. He is deeply ashamed of his behaviour." Judge Andrew Bright QC told him: "You built


your reputation up as a lawyer and have rightly lost it as a result of what you were secretly doing." The judge gave him credit for his guilty plea


and passed a 26 weeks jail sentence suspended for two years with two years supervision and a condition that he attends an Internet Sex Offenders Treatment Programme. He must register as a sex offender for 7 years and abide by the terms of a Sex Offender Treatment programme.


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