Former school governor from Ramsgate admits sex with imported child-sized doll
PUBLISHED: 16:25 31 July 2017
David Turner, 72, also admitted possessing more than 34,000 images of child abuse
A former school governor, who told a court he had sex with a child-sized doll, tried to challenge whether his actions were against the law.
David Turner, 72, admitted importing and having sex with the 3ft 10in doll, described as “anatomically detailed and correct”, asked a judge to decide if it was indecent or obscene in law.
National Crime Agency officers arrested Turner, who also admitted possessing more than 34,000 images of child abuse, 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 intercepted the parcel which was labelled as a mannequin and came with a fishnet body-stocking.
When NCA officers searched Turner’s Ramsgate home in December they discovered two 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.
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, which are the most serious, 299 Category B images and 33,619 Category C images.
Children in the images were aged from approximately three to 16.
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.
After being arrested Turner resigned as a school governor of St Ethelbert’s Church Primary School in Ramsgate and from St Ethelbert’s and Gertrude Church where he was a warden.
Hazel Stewart, from the NCA CEOP Specialist Operation Team, said: “The importation of these child sex dolls is a relatively new phenomenon.
“We know their purchase can indicate other offences against children, as was the case against Turner who had a sickening stash of abuse images.
“The NCA and Border Force co-ordinate law enforcement activity, carrying out intelligence checks and offering specialist advice every time these indecent and obscene items are seized at the border.
“Importers of such obscene items should expect to have law enforcement closing in on them.”
Border Force’s Dan Scully, deputy director, Intelligence Operations said: “Our front line officers and intelligence teams are vigilant to emerging criminal trends such as the importation of obscene dolls.
“This work is part of the Border Force-led Operation Shiraz. The seizure of the offending item led directly to the identification of Turner and ultimately to the uncovering of his criminal interest in children.
“Through our work with law enforcement partners like the NCA, we are committed to preventing the smuggling of obscene articles and bringing those responsible to justice.”
Barnardo’s chief executive, Javed Khan said: “The importation of child sex dolls into the UK is an extremely disturbing new phenomenon and one that needs to be tackled with robust legislation and enforcement.
“We welcome the action by the National Crime Agency and Border Force to ban these obscene sex dolls based on young children.
“Evidence from the NCA shows there’s a clear connection between possessing these dolls and a sexual interest in children, with owners being charged with offences such as being in possession of indecent images of children.
“Barnardo’s specialist workers see first-hand the harm suffered by children who have been sexually groomed, exploited and abused.
“We are pleased authorities are working together to stamp out this growing problem which should help protect vulnerable children.”
Jon Brown, NSPCC Head of Development, said: “There is no evidence to support the idea that the use of so-called child sex dolls helps prevent potential abusers from committing contact offences against real children.
“And in fact there is a risk that those using these child sex dolls or realistic props could become desensitised and their behaviour becomes normalised to them, so that they go on to harm children themselves, as is often the case with those who view indecent images.
“The NSPCC is calling on government to take action to criminalise the manufacturing, distribution and possession of these grotesque dolls, in the same way it does indecent images of children.
“And until this loophole is closed, online retailers who have these items available to purchase should immediately remove them from sale.”
Turner will return to court on September 8 for sentencing.