Wakefield Theatre Royal senior manager sacked over indecent images of children as young as three-years-old

Wakefield Theatre Royal
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A SENIOR manager at Wakefield Theatre Royal for 13 years was sacked after he was convicted of possessing indecent images of children.

Leeds Crown Court heard Gareth Williams, 47, who worked as a production manager at the theatre in Wakefield city centre, admitted three charges of making a total of 455 indecent images and movies of children aged between three and 12-years-old between March 2016 and May 2017.

The court was told Williams' life is "in pieces" - his wife has divorced him and he is living in a camper van on the driveway of his mother's home.

Prosecutor, Bashir Ahmed said West Yorkshire Police were notified that an internet provider address linked to Williams' mobile phone number had uploaded an indecent image of a child.

Mr Ahmed said police enquiries led to Williams' home Wakefield area and a warrant was executed and the house searched on May 10 2017.

His mobile phone and computer equipment was seized, along with a USB memory stick.

Mr Ahmed said that in police interview, Williams accepted he had been involved in web applications like Chatstop and Utox , adding: "He was involved in chat with other like minded individuals for sexual gratification purposes and through those chat rooms he had shared indecent images of children."

On the seized USB memory stick police found 29 indecent images and nine movies at category A, the most serious level.

They also found 26 category B images and two movies and 397 category C images and one movie.

Mitigating, Maryam Ahmad said: "He faced difficulties in his work and difficulties in his marriage, which led to him drinking to excess.

"Before his arrest he was employed in a senior management role with a respected theatre company.

"The consequences of this are he has lost his job and there is no prospect of him returning to employment in this area.

"His wife had divorced him and he is sleeping in a camper van on his mother's drive. His life is now in pieces as a consequence of these offences."

The court heard Williams, of Oakley Meadow, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, had voluntarily completed a sex offender treatment programme ahead of the sentencing hearing.

Judge Neil Clark sentenced Williams to a 12-month community order with a 12-days of rehabilitation activity and 160 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Clark also made Williams the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for five years and said his name will be on the sex offender register for five years.

A spokeswoman for Theatre Royal Wakefield said Williams started working at the theatre in 2004 and ceased workinmg there on the day he was arrested in May 2017.

Katie Town, executive director at Theatre Royal Wakefield, said after the sentencing hearing: "This conviction has shocked everyone at the theatre.

"As soon as we were made aware of the situation, we took immediate action and advice from the appropriate authorities.

"As you would expect, we underwent a disciplinary process which resulted in the member of staff leaving our employment.

"We would like to make it clear that there is no evidence to suggest that the safety of any of the young people involved in the theatre has been compromised in any way."

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