Child porn nurse had fled to Spain

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A NURSE at Calderstones Hospital, Whalley, informed police after a colleague gave him a computer disc containing pornographic images of children.

Blackburn magistrates heard that Anthony Paul Johnson pleaded guilty in 2003 to seven charges of possessing indecent images and seven charges of distributing them, but then left the country before he could be sentenced.

But the court heard that his past caught up with him when he was arrested on Monday at Manchester Airport as he returned to the UK from Spain, where he had lived for the past eight years.

Johnson (51), who said he had no UK address, was remanded in custody for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

Miss Catherine Allan (prosecuting) said Johnson was described by colleagues at Calderstones as a “lewd” character. In April, 2003, he approached a colleague and gave him a DVD, saying there was something on he might find interesting.

“The colleague was expecting adult pornography, but when he looked at it at home he found it contained images of girls aged about nine or 10 showing their genitalia,” said Miss Allan.

“He was appalled, showed it to another colleague and they decided to involve the police.”

Mr Gareth Price (defending) said Johnson had worked as a mental health nurse for 12 years and there had never been any complaint about his behaviour. He had worked at Calderstones for six weeks and claimed it was commonplace for staff members to exchange pornographic material between themselves.

“He says that was the environment he went into,” said Mr Price.

He said Johnson recalled having the disc, which contained all kinds of files, including road maps and some adult porn.

“He says he had only viewed the images of children as thumbnails,” said Mr Price.

“He was not responsible for creating any of them.”

Mr Price said Johnson had been attacked, his house vandalised and his car damaged as a result of the offences.

“He was being tagged as a paedophile and it was causing him a great deal of stress and anxiety,” said Mr Price.

“He fled to Spain in a panic and has been there ever since. He has not been hiding there, he has worked, rented accommodation and been paying the equivalent of national insurance.”