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BBC Wales's Gavin Thomas reports
"Mr Howe told police that he downloaded images for professional reasons"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 27 June, 2000, 07:28 GMT 08:28 UK
Lecturer porn conviction inquiry
Newport Crown Court
The court heard pictures were kept on a home computer
The University of Wales is investigating after a lecturer is ordered to register as a sex offender after being caught with child pornography on a home computer.

Newport Crown Court heard how John Howe - a leading international specialist on sexual health - became addicted to pornography.

He was fined 3,000 with 1,000 costs for swapping hardcore images of naked boys on the internet.

I'm aware this leaves your reputation in ruins and you have come within a hair's breadth of going to jail

Judge Huw Davies

Mr Howe, 50, was caught with hundreds of indecent images on his home PC including fetish, adult gay and Asian pornography.

He claimed it was part of his 30,000-a-year university role where he has a "respected worldwide reputation" as a sex expert.

But a jury found him guilty of distributing an indecent image of an under-age boy.

John Howe
John Howe: Denied charges
Prosecutor Richard Twomlow said: "He sent them on to other people using his profession as a cover for something he knew was unlawful.

"He has in the past published articles on sexual health but he never received any authority to research child pornography."

Howe, a master of philosophy, is a lecturer in sexual health at the School of Nursing at the University College of Medicine in Cardiff.

He has been teaching nurses for 15 years and is a leading authority on the care of HIV patients.

'Internationally respected'

Howe was arrested last year when police seized his home computer and found hundreds of images of boys stored on 16 floppy discs.

When arrested Howe told police the images were downloaded because of his profession.

He told the court: "My opinions on these matters are respected nationally and internationally."

Howe said he had downloaded the pictures to prepare for a lecture on child sexual development he was due to give.

Howe, of Cathays, Cardiff, denied distributing an indecent image.


But he was convicted by a jury at Newport Crown Court after four hours.

Huw Evans, defending, said Howe was now a broken and ruined man.

He said: "The disgrace this brings on him will affect his credibility."

Judge Huw Davies ordered him to register as a sex offender for five years.

"You are someone who has a fixation with pornography," he said.

"This pornography exposes children to abuse and depends on people like you.

"I'm aware this leaves your reputation in ruins and you have come within a hair's breadth of going to jail."

Judge Davies praised Detective Constable Tony Neate - nicknamed Cybercop by fellow officers - for his "thorough investigation" to crack the computer crime.

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