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10 January 2018, 17:43 | Updated: 10 January 2018, 17:53
A policeman from Solihull who downloaded videos of child sexual abuse has walked free court.
PC James Duffield, who has since resigned from West Midlands Police, was given a suspended 12-month jail term after claiming he had been the victim of abuse by someone who has since died.
The married 34-year-old, an ex-serviceman, pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to three counts of making indecent images of children, relating to more than 100 moving image files found on two laptops.
Offering mitigation on behalf of the disgraced response officer at Birmingham Crown Court, Adrian Keeling QC, said full admissions had been made at a very early stage.
Submitting that the offences spanned a nine-month period up to August of last year, the defence barrister told the court Duffield had not viewed the videos for sexual gratification.
Mr Keeling told Judge Simon Drew QC: "This case is somewhat different because Mr Duffield himself was abused when he was younger.
"He made no complaint at the time and therefore received no help and assistance with that at the time."
Duffield's lawyer also said that the officer, who lives in Solihull but was based in Birmingham, encountered the images through file-sharing software.
"What's perhaps important is why he did it," Mr Keeling added. "He was trying to understand what had happened to him in the past.
"Once he was confronted, he acted in a way that the court would expect and would hope he would - he pleaded guilty at the first opportunity."
Passing sentence, Judge Drew told Duffield, who is re-training to be a lorry driver: "At the time of these offences you were a serving police officer.
"You rank as one of the last people you would expect to be before the court for offences of this sort.
"It's clear that there are deep-rooted issues that you were addressing in the commission of these offences, and are seeking to deal with now."
The judge went on: "In the circumstances, this offending clearly passes the custodial threshold in principle.
"In the interests of justice and indeed society at large, I step back from imposing an immediate custodial sentence."
PC Duffield was formally dismissed without notice during a brief misconduct hearing on November 21 last year.
The officer did not appear at the special case hearing, which was chaired by Chief Constable Dave Thompson at West Midlands Police's
Lloyd House headquarters.
The hearing was told PC Duffield was arrested at his home by specialist detectives from the force's Online Child Sexual Exploitation Team as part of an intelligence-led operation in August 2017.
The Chief Constable dismissed the officer without notice and said: "It's clear that this particular set of circumstances demonstrate a horrific breach of public trust.
"The public expect the police to have, at their heart, the desire to protect the most vulnerable in society."