September 30th, 2016

No jail sentence for Coventry University lecturer guilty of sending child porn to student

No jail sentence for Coventry University lecturer guilty of sending child porn to student No jail sentence for Coventry University lecturer guilty of sending child porn to student

A SENIOR Coventry University lecturer who sent indecent images of children to student he was in a fetishist relationship with has escaped jail.

Martyn Lee, who was who was principal lecturer in the Communication Culture and Media department at the university at the time of his arrest last year, was spared serving time behind bars but was ordered to take part in a sex offender’s programme.

The ‘disgraced’ 54-year-old of Eves Green Lane, Meriden, had pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to four charges of distributing indecent images of children and admitted two charges of making 124 indecent images of children by downloading them onto his MacBook computer.

With him in the dock was Sophie Nightingale, a 23-year-old Performing Arts student at Coventry University, who pleaded guilty to three charges of making indecent photos of children which were found on her laptop computer.

Miss Nightingale, of Bath Lane, Hixon, near Stafford, also admitted possessing an image of extreme pornography said to show ‘in an explicit way’ an act which threatened a person’s life.

The pair were given three-year community sentences and ordered to register as sex offenders for five years – with Mr Lee also ordered to take part in a three-year sex offenders’ programme.

Mr Lee became aware Sophie Nightingale was a student at the university after they had begun talking online and told her he had images of girls from a teen modelling website – sending her images of a fictitious niece called Alice as part of their role-play.

The pair had agreed to a submissive/dominant relationship in which Lee would provide her with sexual training, including ‘baby girl training’ – a fantasy of hers.

Prosecutor Delroy Henry said matters came to light in January last year when Nightingale told the police that she was in a relationship with a convicted child sex offender.

She also disclosed that she had been sent indecent images of children by her university lecturer, which prompted the police to arrest Lee.

The student explained she was concerned because the lecturer had been making references to activity with his 12-year-old niece Alice – who in fact does not exist.

Following his arrest Lee acknowledged he had been a member of an adult fetish website for three to four weeks and had been talking online to Nightingale who was on the same site.

When she was interviewed Nightingale said that the last time she had visited Lee she had seen images of a sexual nature of a little girl on his MacBook.

She said he had sent her 15 indecent images of children, some of which she had deleted although she had responded in a sexual way and told him she liked them even though she did not.

Chat messages between the pair revealed Mr Lee admitted to liking child porn in response to Miss Nightingale asking him what sort of porn he liked, to which she responded: “Oh sir, as long as you’re not harming people who are not consenting.”

Nightingale, who accepted she had instigated many of the conversations because she was lonely, explained that she had gone to the police because she believed Alice, who Lee said he had got to perform a sex act on him, was a real girl.

Paul Hiatt, for Nightingale, said she had made ‘full and frank admissions’ to the police, and observed: “To her credit she reported this to a course director at the university and then went to the police of her own accord.

“She is disgusted by her actions, but at the time she was lonely and vulnerable.

“She used her position as submissive to attract the attention of a male.”

But Marcus Harry, defending Lee, described him as a man of ‘previous good character, a man of exemplary character’ who had worked at the university for 26 years.

He added: “In 2008 the defendant’s relationship with his wife broke down, but they remained residing in the matrimonial home, but no longer as husband and wife.

“He spent the majority of his time in his own room, and he spent more and more time in that room, and more and more time on his computer.

“He joined the website, and it’s there he met Sophie Nightingale though it was not just her he was communicating with in such an unsavoury fashion.

“In relation to the images he distributed to her, he had received them from one of the other individuals.

“They were sent to him, and he forwarded them on, but did not keep them.”

He also pointed out it is accepted by Miss Nightingale that she instigated the vast majority of the chat and the distribution of the images.

Mr Harry said there were ‘a relatively low number of images,’ and of those found, all were of the lowest level of seriousness, although he had sent three movies in the most serious category, showing children subjected to penetrative sex acts.

He added: “Mr Lee is a man who for a short period became embroiled in a world of fantasy which was entirely out of character.

“When on a number of occasions he tried to end the relationship, she begged him not to.”

Mr Harry said that Lee’s career was in tatters, he has no income and is dependent on his wife, and rarely leaves his home.

Sentencing Lee and Nightingale, Recorder Stephen Linehan QC said that while the court has no role to play in the private consenting sexual conduct of adults, where their sexual conduct affects the welfare of others, it is no longer a private matter and becomes a matter of public concern.

Ordering Lee to take part in the sex offenders’ programme, he told Nightingale that there are no community sex offender programmes for women, so he could not ‘make a similar order’ on her.

He added: “Those people who gain sexual gratification by using images of children placed in positions of a sexual nature or being sexually assaulted are directly responsible for the offences of which those children are the victims.”

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