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Last Updated: Monday, 18 August, 2003, 15:33 GMT 16:33 UK
Clerk's porn charge 'nightmare'
House of Commons
A senior clerk denies 12 counts of making indecent images
A clerk at the House of Commons has told a court he thought he was having a nightmare when he was accused of downloading child pornography.

Father-of-two Phillip Lyon said: "My legs turned to jelly. I started sweating. I could not believe it. It was like a nightmare - a dream I thought I was going to wake up from.

"I started crying. I was totally distressed. I did not know what to do."

Mr Lyon, 38, from Stanford-le-Hope in Essex, denies 12 counts of making an indecent image of a child between October 2001 and April 2002.

Giving evidence in his defence at Southwark Crown Court on Monday, Mr Lyon denied ever having downloaded images of children which were indecent, or pictures which were likely to be of children which were indecent.

Others could access computer

He would not have had the opportunity to download those sort of pictures at work, he told the jury, because other people had access to his computer and anyone could walk into his busy, open office.

He said he would leave his computer on over the lunch break, adding: "It was common practice. There was a general openness with everyone trusting everyone else."

The password on his home computer was saved and his wife and son's friends had access to that machine as well, he told the jury.

There was no suggestion that his wife or son were downloading the material, he said.

The prosecution has alleged that Mr Lyon downloaded indecent images on an almost daily basis.

Arrest statements denied

According to the prosecution, he collected more than 1,000 images of children - including some of some toddlers engaged in sexual acts or having sexual acts performed on them.

He was suspended in March last year from his job in the Upper Table Office accused of misuse of the internet, and police later went to his home and arrested him.

Mr Lyon denied having told officers on his arrest: "I did not distribute. I just look at pictures."

He also denied saying: "There is nothing here. I have done it all at work."

Mr Lyon told the court he had told police: "You will find nothing here."

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