A PERVERTED former campaign manager for the Conservative Party has admitted online child sexual abuse offences, after a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation.
Mark Lerigo, from Coventry, pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court today to distributing indecent images of children (IIOC), three counts of making IIOC, one count of possessing extreme pornography involving animals, one count of possessing prohibited images of children and one count of publishing an obscene article.
NCA officers arrested the 49-year-old in November 2018. As well as the images, investigators found a WhatsApp chat with another offender discussing the sexual abuse of children.
Lerigo had an iPad which contained a total of 1,005 illegal images including 146 category A (the most serious) abuse pictures of children, and 258 images of extreme pornography.
He also had a laptop which contained evidence of a total of 414 illegal images – including 59 category A images.
He will be sentenced on August 21.
Graham Ellis, NCA operations manager, said: “Offenders who view indecent images are fuelling more and more sexual abuse of children.
“Every time an abuse image is shared or viewed the child is revictimised.
“Child sexual abuse is a priority threat for the NCA. It doesn’t matter what walk of life an offender is from, we will do everything in our power to catch them.”
An NSPCC spokesman said: “By accessing and distributing this terrible content, Lerigo was helping to sustain a trade that thrives on children’s suffering.
“Children often endure appalling abuse for these kind of images and videos to be created. But law enforcement cannot solve this problem alone – big tech must be made to use their expertise and resources to quickly remove them from their platforms and identify who put them there in the first place.”
The NSPCC Helpline is there for any adults concerned about the welfare of a child, on 0808 800 5000 or email@example.com.