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Paedophile librarian watched child porn at Paddington Children’s Library

PUBLISHED: 15:06 13 February 2012 | UPDATED: 16:34 13 February 2012

Richard Wareham arriving at Southwark Crown Court. Picture: Polly Hancock

Richard Wareham arriving at Southwark Crown Court. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

A children’s librarian has avoided jail after viewing child pornography and sending a “revolting” image of himself to a young girl while working at Paddington Children’s Library.

Richard Wareham, 51, downloaded 50 indecent images and six videos onto his computer while working at the library in Porchester Road, Southwark Crown Court heard today (Monday, February 13).

He also sent a photo of himself engaged in a sexual activity to a girl he believed to be aged 13.

The father-of-two narrowly avoided jail when the judge ruled Wareham could “feed off” fellow paedophiles in prison and “come out worse”.

Instead his eight-month jail sentence was suspended for two years and he was placed on the sexual offenders register for the next decade.

The court heard Wareham, who lives in Streatham, had 48 level one images and eight level three images and videos, as graded on a scale that ranks the severity of child pornography images with level five as the most obscene.

On seizing his computer, police also found Facebook chat logs containing “conversations of a sexual nature” and a sent email from September 18, 2011, with an image of Wareham involved in a sexual activity, said prosecutor Usha Shergill.

Although unable to prove the age of the email recipient, the court heard Wareham believed she was a 13-year-old girl.

Wareham pleaded guilty to attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act and guilty to three counts of making indecent photographs of a child.

Defence counsel Silas Reid told the court Wareham had “fairly spectacularly destroyed his life” but that he now accepted he “had a problem”.

Sentencing the librarian, Judge Alistair McCreath told him to think about what the public would like to see happen to him.

He said: “The public would say that people who play a role in the corruption of children deserve to be punished for it because it is a wicked thing to do.

“The children in the images that you downloaded were of real children suffering some measure of sexual abuse.”

He added: “Not only did you play that indirect part in corrupting children, you played a very direct part in at least the intent to corrupt another child because you went on the internet and you made contact with someone who you believed to be a child.

“You made suggestions to her of a frankly revolting kind between a man of your age and a child of that age.”

When considering a prison sentence, the judge told Wareham he had to “look into the best interests of the public rather than the pure desire to punish”.

He said time in prison could lead Wareham to become “a worse and more dangerous person than when you went in because you will undoubtedly spend that time on a wing with other people interested in sexually abusing children and you will feed off each other”.

Wareham’s eight-month jail term was suspended for two years and he was sentenced to a two-year supervision order, 10 years on the sexual offenders register, and an internet sexual offender programme.

Westminster Council, which runs Paddington Children’s Library, said it immediately suspended Wareham when alerted by police before dismissing him and banning him from any library in the borough.

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