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Ex-school governor and church warden jailed after losing landmark child sex doll ruling

An ex-primary school governor and church warden who admitted importing a child sex doll but sought a court ruling on whether it was obscene, has been jailed.

David Turner, 72, was sentenced today to 16 months by judge Simon James at Canterbury Crown Court.

He admitted importing the child sex doll and possessing more than 34,000 images of child sex abuse.

National Crime Agency officers arrested Turner in November last year after Border Force officers intercepted a 3ft doll which he was attempting to import from China.

The Border Force led Fast Parcel Joint Border Intelligence Unit (JBIU) at Stansted Airport seized the parcel which was labelled as a mannequin. It came with a fishnet body-stocking.

When NCA officers searched Turner’s home in December they discovered two more child sex dolls which he kept in his study and seized a computer, tablets, external hard drives and pen drives.

The charge relates to a 3ft 10in doll that was already in his possession, and which he had bought clothes for.

In June he admitted possessing indecent images of children but declined to plead over the doll in the hope a judge would rule it was not indecent or obscene.

Analysis of Turner’s computers showed he viewed websites selling items advertised as “flat chest love doll” and “mini silicone sex doll 65cms little breasts”.

He was in possession of 138 Category A images of child abuse (the most serious), 299 Category B images and 33,619 Category C images.

Children in the images were aged from approximately three to 16.

Men in previous prosecutions for importing the dolls have all pleaded guilty.

But in July, Turner asked judge James to decide if the doll was indecent or obscene as set out in law.

Judge James, in the first ruling of its kind, decided it was.

In interview, Turner said his preference was to view indecent images of children aged four to 10 and he admittedly “secretly” taking photographs of girls aged six to 11 in public places.

Officers also found 29 fictional stories – which described sexual abuse of children but fell outside the Obscene Publications Act – when they searched his home in Ramsgate, Kent.

After being arrested Turner resigned as a governor of St Ethelbert’s Church Primary School in Ramsgate and from St Ethelbert’s and Gertrude Church where he was a warden.

Turner was placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years and given an indefinite sexual harm prevention order which sets conditions for him post-release.

Hazel Stewart, from the NCA CEOP Specialist Operation Team, said: “Importing child dolls to have sex with – as David Turner did – is a crucial flag to potential offending against children.

“In this case it enabled us to uncover Turner’s long-standing sexual interest in children.

“He should not be near them and I am delighted that our investigation has seen him convicted and jailed.

“Border Force does great work in stopping these dolls coming in and their vigilance enables us to start investigations which can protect children from harm.”

Border Force’s Dan Scully, Deputy Director, Intelligence Operations said: “Turner presented a respectable face to the community, but the long list of criminal offences uncovered by the NCA’s investigation shows just how vital Border Force’s initial intervention in seizing the obscene doll was.

“Border Force intelligence officers will continue to work with the NCA and other law enforcement agencies both in the UK and overseas to ensure that those committing this kind offending are brought to justice.”

Child protection charity The Lucy Faithfull Foundation runs the Stop It Now! helpline which offers confidential advice to anyone concerned about their own or someone else’s behaviour towards children.

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