Page last updated at 18:59 GMT, Monday, 16 March 2009

Paedophile jailed for 31 offences

Andrew Lintern
Andrew Lintern's 24-year marriage was in jeopardy, the court heard

A former Oxford university chemist has been jailed for sexually assaulting a 17-month-old girl and having almost 20,000 child sex images and videos.

Andrew Lintern, 55, was arrested after an online attempt to befriend a schoolgirl, and meet her for sex, who was being played by a police officer.

Lintern, of Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, was jailed indefinitely after pleading guilty to 31 charges.

They amounted to a "great catalogue of offences", Southwark Crown Court heard.

He pleaded guilty to the indecent assault, three charges of taking indecent images of the victim and an attempt to meet a child after sexual grooming.

Lintern also admitted 15 offences of making indecent photographs of children and 11 of distributing them.

'Abuse obsession'

Prosecutor Hannah Llewellyn-Waters said that the defendant had "an obsession with the systematic sexual abuse of young children".

Judge Geoffrey Rivlin, QC, told Lintern: "Taken all in all, the charges you have pleaded guilty to amount to such a great catalogue of offences involving child abuse that it is difficult to grasp the scale of your offending.

"And it is just as difficult to grasp what has prompted a man like yourself to become steeped in activities involving the serious exploitation of children and the literally immeasurable harm that was done to them."

Ravi Dogra, defending, said Lintern's career that had taken him from Oxford to running his own IT business now lay in ruins. His 24-year marriage was also at risk, the lawyer said.

The judge said it was clear Lintern posed a "significant risk to the public - in particular, of course, young girls - of serious harm".

Lintern was told he must serve three-and-a-half years in jail before being considered for parole.

On release he will remain on licence for at least 10 years, and be entered on the sex offenders register for life.

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