Ex-mayor jailed after ‘dark secret’ exposed

Philip Judd appeared a 'pillar of the community' - but hid a 'dark secret'.

Philip Judd appeared a 'pillar of the community' - but hid a 'dark secret'. - Credit: Archant

EX-MAYOR of Weston Philip Judd has been jailed for possessing hundreds of ‘horrendous, graphic’ child abuse films and photos - a ‘dark secret’ which he hid for years while reigning as a ‘pillar of society’.

During his sentencing at Bristol Crown Court on Monday, the father, former councillor and charity veteran’s ‘fall from grace’ was revealed for the first time - including how he repeatedly changed his story after the vile material was seized from his Worle home last year.

The police raid unearthed 205 images and 156 movies featuring the abuse and rape of girls as young as three.

Judd initially tried to hide the hard drive under his bed, before admitting he had viewed the material out of curiosity and intended to delete it, only to later insist he only downloaded it by accident.

In jailing Judd for 14 months, Judge Mark Horton, said: “You are part of an ever-growing plague of men in this society who present to the world a man of honesty, integrity and stature, holding himself out as someone with strong family values and who has a lifetime performing a public service to the community.

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“The reality is you concealed - and still conceal - a dark secret.

“You sit, as others do, in private rooms behind computer screens in order to seek out, obtain and download pictures and films with full sound depicting in the most horrendous, graphic detail the appalling sexual abuse of young girls.”

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The day after police raided his home in Trenleigh Drive, 60-year-old Judd called officers to request an interview, saying he has been ‘stupid’ and regretted not deleting the files, which dated back to 2009.

Prosecutor Neil Treharne said: “The defendant told police ‘I’m not hooked on child porn but I’m hooked on the curiosity of it - my intention was to satisfy my curiosity and delete the folder and I never got around to doing it’.”

When that claim was challenged, he pleaded guilty to 11 counts of downloading indecent photographs of a child and one count of possessing a prohibited image of a child.

Some of the material - downloaded between November 2012 and January 2013 - ranked in the top two most serious categories of child abuse images.

Tabitha Macfarlane, defending, told the court Judd’s health had deteriorated since his daughter’s suicide in 1997 and he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, but took the decision to stop attending counselling sessions.

She said: “His fall from grace will be a long one. In a letter from his wife and daughter, his daughter describes him as ‘my best friend’.

“Despite the reality of these charges she (Judd’s wife) ends her letter, ‘we have always felt very proud of him and value his friendship’.”

Judge Horton also handed Judd an eight-year sexual offences prevention order.

He said: “It’s a grave tragedy that in your case you have been unable to admit the damaging problem you have. Without it no-one is able to put forward a course which will enable you to deal with the problem you retain.

“It is very rare for this court to have such a large file reflecting the massive extraordinary good work that you have done in your life. The sadness is that society is likely to remember this, rather than the good work you have done.”

Following the sentencing Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s Detective Inspector Katie Boxer said: “What sets this case aside from the others is Mr Judd has portrayed himself as a pillar of society and completely abused his position of trust and let everyone down.

“For those that show a willingness and acceptance of the problem that they have there are a number of support agencies out there which can offer a sexual offenders programme and support for families.

“The way he (Judd) has acted shows he is not accepting it and I hope in time he will change, but most importantly he will be behind bars.”

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