Caernarfon yachting teacher jailed for child porn
Feb 14 2009 by Our Correspondent, Daily Post
A SENIOR yachting instructor was jailed yesterday for possessing hundreds of indecent images of children – including some of a boy he taught to sail.
Richard Philip Twinning, 42, was regional development officer for the Welsh Yachting Association.
He downloaded child porn on his work laptop while based at the Plas Menai National Watersports Centre in Felinheli, Gwynedd, where he worked for 10 years from 1996.
And he took photographs of an indecent nature of a boy aged 11 whom he had taught to sail outside the North Wales area. The boy was not from North Wales.
At the time, Twinning lived at Maes Barcer in Caernarfon, Mold Crown Court was told.
Prosecutor Elen Owen said that Twinning and his wife Valerie split up and she subsequently found a laptop, discs and other material in the attic.
When she saw the contents, she called in the police.
Twinning, who was by then based at Pembroke Dock in South Wales, was arrested at his home in Romally Avenue in Barry, where he had downloaded further images onto a computer.
He denied that he obtained any sexual gratification from the images.
Twinning was suspended without pay from the Welsh Yachting Association and has since resigned.
Ms Owen said that it was in April last year that his estranged wife handed the discs to police.
Officers seized his personal issue laptop from the Yachting Association and other material where indecent images were found, together with other photographs which showed children in bathing costumes, or which focused on genital areas of clothed children, together with sexual cartoons of children.
While not illegal, they indicated a interest in child sex abuse, she said.
In May of last year he was arrested at the home of his current girlfriend in Barry and denied any wrongdoing.
But 176 downloaded images were found on his computer and 222 on an external hard drive. There were 1,744 images in total, said Ms Owen.
Mr Recorder Peter Rouch QC told Twinning: “I don’t accept that you didn’t obtain sexual gratification from the images involved in this case.”
He had downloaded and stored a vast quantity of indecent images of children, the judge said.
The photographing of the boy was a serious breach of trust and his parents must have been horrified.
Twinning admitted 16 charges of possessing indecent photographs and video clips of children and was jailed for four months.
He was ordered to register with the police as a sex offender for seven years and a life-time Sexual Offences Prevention Order was made under which he must not approach the victim, have any child in his home or car unless supervised, or work with children again.
Jailing him, the judge said it was accepted that the images were at the least serious level one but the aggravating features involving the boy meant that only custody was appropriate.
Jonathan Austin, defending, claimed that an experienced probation officer and a psychiatrist had accepted that Twinning obtained no sexual gratification from the images.
The defendant was interested in naturism, Mr Austin said.
His new partner was a mother of two who was pregnant with his baby and who wanted him back home.
A Wales Yachting Association spokeswoman said the organisation had co-operated fully with the police investigation.
She said: “Richard Twinning was suspended from his post at Plas Menai in May 2008 and resigned his position in November. Following the court case the Wales Yachting Association have withdrawn all his instructor qualifications with immediate effect.”
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