Page last updated at 17:25 GMT, Friday, 16 May 2008 18:25 UK

Offender expert jailed over porn

A man who helped set up a Government database of violent sex offenders has been jailed on child pornography charges.

Vincent Barron, 50, a senior probation service manager, admitted 21 charges of distributing indecent images and one charge of possessing 3,800 images.

They were found on a computer when police raided his home in Kirk Rise, Frosterley, County Durham.

The judge at Durham Crown Court sentenced him to 33 months in prison.

He was also placed on the sex offenders' register for life and banned from working with children indefinitely.

Barron was employed by Northumbria Probation Service for a number of years before being seconded to the Home Office VISOR project.

You held a position trusted by society to stop this type of behaviour and not indulge in it.
Judge Richard Lowden

The project was set up after the Bichard inquiry into Soham double child killer Ian Huntley, called for a national IT register of offenders which could be shared by all police forces.

The database contains the details and photos of more than 60,000 of the most dangerous criminals, including 25,000 registered sex offenders.

Barron was arrested in August 2005 during an investigation into an internet paedophile by police in Scotland.

Durham Crown Court was told that chat room transcripts between Barron and another man described "vile fantasies" depicting rape and murder.

Northumbria Probation Board is appalled to learn that a former employee is guilty of such serious and disturbing offences
Spokesman
Northumbria Probation Board

The court heard that at the time of his offending he had been suffering from work-related stress, had been drinking more and was depressed.

Judge Richard Lowden said Barron had wrecked a "fine career of public service".

He said: "These offences of distributing child pornography are of the utmost seriousness and you know why.

"These images show children being abused and anything that encourages this type of offending is abhorrent.

"You held a position trusted by society to stop this type of behaviour and not indulge in it."

Barron has since been sacked by the Probation Service.

A spokesman for Northumbria Probation Board said: "Northumbria Probation Board is appalled to learn that a former employee is guilty of such serious and disturbing offences.

"The board deplores his behaviour and the impact it has had on victims and their families."


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