National Crime Agency
Teaching assistant bought online child abuse with Amazon vouchers
A teaching assistant bought an online catalogue of child sexual abuse using £365 of Amazon vouchers.
Kevin Sheppard, 26, bought the abuse footage between June and September 2018 and sent the seller eight different Amazon vouchers totalling £365.
Sheppard, who was employed as a teaching assistant at Huxlow Science College in Northamptonshire, specifically requested a video of a 15-year-old girl from the seller – who is the subject of another National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation.
None of Sheppard’s offences were linked to the college and he resigned the day after NCA officers arrested him in June 2019.
He was arrested at his home in Broadway, Kettering, Northants, where NCA officers recovered his iPhone and laptop.
Sheppard’s phone had an app which contained 46 category A (the most severe) images of child abuse; 19 category B and 35 category C.
His laptop contained 17 category B videos of child sexual abuse and 10 category C images.
In interview Sheppard admitted being sexually attracted to young girls and downloading and viewing the abuse.
Recently (28 July 2020), at Northampton Magistrates’ Court, Sheppard admitted three counts of making indecent images of children (IIOC) between September 2014 and July 2019, and one count of encouraging the distribution of IIOC in July 2018.
He will be sentenced on 25 August at Northampton Crown Court.
NCA operations manager Robbie Slater yesterday said:
“There is no greater priority for the NCA than protecting children from sexual abuse.
“Offenders like Sheppard who view indecent images fuel more and more sexual abuse of children.”
Steve Gordon, principal of Huxlow Science College, yesterday said:
“We are appalled to learn of the conduct of a former teaching assistant.
“The safety of all students at our school is our highest priority and we have stringent procedures in place which have been fully complied with.
“Immediately after his arrest, Mr Sheppard was no longer permitted to enter the school grounds and he resigned from his post.
“We are reassured that the NCA investigation confirmed that no students or school equipment were involved in any of the offences.”
The NCA is responsible for developing the threat assessment for child sexual abuse (CSA) in the UK and orchestrating the response to it.
As well as conducting its own investigations, the NCA is responsible for developing intelligence around cases and sharing them with policing partners for individual forces to investigate.
Between the start of the Covid-19 lockdown on 23 March and 19 July, the NCA developed and disseminated more 5,707 online CSA cases to UK police forces.
The agency has arrested 62 CSA offenders and safeguarded or protected 147 children.
At the start of lockdown the NCA launched its #OnlineSafetyAtHome campaign in response to the threat from CSA, to reach those most at risk. Resources aimed at parents, carers and children have now been downloaded nearly 450,000 times.
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.
If you are concerned a crime has been committed against a child contact your local police. For child safety advice visit Thinkuknow.co.uk
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