West Yorkshire Police PCSO tells court he did not download child abuse images and claims he could have been hacked

A West Yorkshire Police officer accused of downloading child abuse images has told a court his phone may have been hacked.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 5:16 pm

PCSO Jonathan Plummer, who serves in the Wakefield neighbourhood policing team, is standing trial at Leeds Crown Court charged with several offences, including distributing an indecent image of a child, making indecent photographs of children, possession of a prohibited image of a child and possession of extreme pornographic images.

The 35-year-old, whose duties included giving cyber crime prevention talks in schools and to social services, has denied obtaining the images under the aliases "Ronin" and '"Vile Degrader" on messaging apps Kik and Telegram.

Plummer took to the stand today (Thursday) to give evidence on the third day of the trial, in which it was heard he had taught himself basic knowledge of cyber security as part of his job, and admitted to having an invested interest in the subject as part of a desire to combat child sexual exploitation claiming that he had himself been a victim of abuse when he was young.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A West Yorkshire Police officer accused of downloading child abuse images has told a court his phone may have been hacked (stock image)

When questioned by defence barrister Richard Canning, he denied being part of a group on the encrypted messaging app Telegram called 'No Judgement' in which indecent images of children were shared.

During a cross-examination in his evidence, prosecuting barrister Louise Reevell asked Plummer "why anyone would want to hack" a PCSO from West Yorkshire, as opposed to big companies and organisations.

Plummer replied: "So they are not stood here where I am."

Elaborating, he said: "The perfect crime is not a crime that goes unsolved, it's one someone else is identified for."

Leeds Crown Court

Plummer said that it was "true" that big organisations were victims of hacking, but added that they were "not the only ones".

When asked if he could think of anyone with a grudge against him, he replied, "there's not anyone I can think of – not to this extent".

In the evidence, it was heard Plummer had looked on several occasions on West Yorkshire Police's crime records management system Niche between July 2017 and August 2018, accessing files relating to reported online sexual offences involving children, which he maintains was to improve his own understanding of policing such crimes as part of his role.

Digital examination of Plummer’s Samsung mobile phone revealed 339 still images and 133 moving images of category A - the most serious category, 258 still images and 25 moving images of category B and 1256 still images and 42 moving images of category C.

Plummer also told the court his personal data had previously been shared on Twitter, but said he did not have the expertise to prove whether this had been used to hack his accounts.

During the evidence, the jury heard that in investigating Plummer's personal phone following his arrest, the words "rape", "raping" and "raped" had been used 263 times when typing, while the words "7yo", "pre teen", "paedo" and "bestiality" had also been used.

When questioned on the stand, Plummer said reasons for these words being used may have been in messages to friends and colleagues when discussing his job, the news or his own children.

Plummer, who is currently suspended from the force, denies the charges and remains on bail while the trial continues.