News article


Paediatrician guilty of possession of indecent images of children

Court 2

Dr Jonathan Walsh pleaded guilty at Exeter Crown Court

A Paediatrician has today (Tuesday 14th February) pleaded guilty to a number of indecent images offences following a police investigation.

Dr Jonathan Walsh, aged 47, of Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, and formerly of Wordsworth Avenue, Barnstaple will be sentenced following a hearing which is due to be held on the 20th of March.

Walsh pleaded guilty to 17 charges which included 9 counts of distributing indecent images of children and 6 counts of making indecent images of children. The vast majority of the charges related to ‘Category A’ images which are the most serious in their nature.

Police have worked closely with the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust and Devon County Council throughout this case, and can confirm that none of these crimes relate to contact offences, and none of these images relate to patients at the North Devon District Hospital.

Detective Inspector Andrea Kingdon from the Force Child Exploitation Unit, said: “Jonathan Walsh was working in a position of responsibility where he had a duty to protect children and young people, yet he choose to commit crimes with the possession and sharing of indecent images of children which leads to the abuse of some of the most vulnerable in our society.

“Walsh was a practicing and respected paediatrician in North Devon when he was committing these crimes; he let himself and his profession down by his activities which he went to great lengths to hide.

“The victims of these types of offences often do not have a voice as their images are shared by paedophilic networks many times over, in a manner which constantly re- victimises them. We are determined to eradicate these types of despicable crimes and to stop paedophile offenders from being gratified by such activity, and in doing so protect the vulnerable.

“It is a testament to the commitment and ingenuity of those investigating this case that his level of offending was uncovered which led to his successful prosecution today.  I wish to thank those staff an officers in the Public Protection Unit who have the unenviable job of viewing and processing this evidence to allow us to bring Dr Walsh to court to face justice.

“The nature of the offending on the images and videos viewed and distributed by Dr Walsh are at the most serious end of the scale, and some of these included movies some hours in length; this is an incredibly upsetting and challenging task for my team to work through.

“This case has demonstrated how effectively all agencies and professionals can work together to identify those perpetrating these types of crimes no matter what their standing in the community.

“Whilst these may not have been contact offenses, the viewing and sharing of these types of images directly leads to the abuse of the most vulnerable in our society – Dr Walsh is as responsible as those who film and take part in this horrific abuse of children.

“I hope that this case sends out a strong message to those using the internet for deviant purposes that we have the capability to use advanced technology and expert help to uncover the truth and bring offenders to justice.”

George Thomson, Medical Director for the Northern Devon Healthcare Trust, said: “At the launch of the police investigation in September 2015 we took immediate action to exclude Dr Walsh from working at the Trust and informed the General Medical Council. It is our understanding that none of these crimes relate to contact offences and none of these images relate to patients at North Devon District Hospital.

“This news has deeply shaken our whole team at North Devon District Hospital and we know it will also come as a shock to the community. Therefore we have set up an information line for anyone worried about this news and how it may have affected them. The number is 0300 123 1744 and it provides information on how to access support.”   


Contact

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Devon & Cornwall Police, Press office
Police headquarters, Middlemoor
Exeter
Devon
EX2 7HQ

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