On Air Now
The Capital Evening Show With Jimmy Hill 7pm - 10pm
A perverted children's supervisor on Cunard cruise ships based in Southampton has been jailed for four years for sexually assaulting young boys.
Cruise ship worker Paul Trotter, 34, made films of himself spanking the boys on either their bare bottoms or over their clothes.
He would then watch them alone in his cabin on board luxury ships operated by Cunard, Swindon Crown Court heard.
Trotter previously admitted a string of sexual assaults on 13 boys, aged between seven and 13, and the taking, making and possession of indecent images of children.
The offences were committed while Trotter worked on board the Southampton-based liners Queen Victoria, the Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mary 2, the court heard.
Trotter also had in his possession other indecent images of children he had obtained from the internet.
The images ranged in seriousness from level one to the most serious level five.
Police found a total of more than 900 images on his computer and a media card.
Judge Douglas Field sentenced Trotter, from Pontefract, West Yorkshire, to four years in prison. He was also made subject to an extended period of four years on licence once he was released from prison.
Trotter, who was arrested while living in Salisbury, Wiltshire, appeared at court dressed in a suit and purple tie and stared at the floor as the sentence was passed.
Judge Field said he believed Trotter posed a significant risk to members of the public.
''Your problem is that for many years you have developed an obsession with the spanking of young children, particularly boys,'' the judge said.
''You filmed them for your sexual gratification.
''I have decided that as a result of the extent and nature of your offending that you are dangerous.
''You have a deep seeded obsession and there is a significant risk of members of the public coming to harm.''
Turning to the effect on the children's families, the judge added:
''They went on an expensive cruise with their family to enjoy themselves.
''They had every expectation that their children would be looked after. You have grossly breached that trust.
''It is most concerning to learn that you were employed with children up to now on these prestige cruise ships.''
Trotter was placed on the sex offenders' register for life and banned from working with children.
Last month Trotter pleaded guilty to 12 counts of sexually assaulting a child under the age of 13, one count of sexual activity with a child under the age of 13, five counts of taking indecent images of a child, five of making indecent images of a child and one of possessing indecent images of a child.
The offences were committed between November 2007 and August 2011, when he was arrested by Wiltshire Police's child abuse investigation unit.
Trotter started working with children when he was 22 as an au pair in New Zealand, Spain and Germany. It was then that his obsession with spanking began, the court heard.
Trotter went on to be employed by Cunard and worked for the company for seven years in the ''play zones'' on their most prestigious ships.
Claire Marlow, prosecuting, told the court some of the children in Trotter's films could be seen to be ''physically and audibly upset''.
In the case of one boy, Trotter placed his legs over the top of the boy's legs to stop him moving and held the boy's arms behind his back, she added.
Michel Forward, defending, said:
''This is a case of a gross breach of trust, involving children as young as seven. Their parents trusted the defendant to care for their children.''
But he said his client's behaviour was ''not at the worst end of the spectrum of offending''.
Following the hearing, the family of two of Trotter's victims said they were extremely disappointed with the sentence and called for a review of sentencing guidelines.
''We do not believe this sentence is a strong enough deterrent to paedophiles,'' they said in a statement.
''This is a man who admitted to police that he was aware of his predilection for abusing young boys.
''He then sought out employment in positions of trust with access to young boys, systematically abused them and manipulated parents and employers.
''He only stopped because he was caught.
''Additionally he used the internet to exchange indecent images.
''Long after this calculating and evil man leaves prison, we face the prospect of our children coming to understand fully what happened to them and the possible long-term impacts of the abuse.
''We and other families will live in the shadow of his actions for years to come and remain fearful for our children's future well-being.
''We would urge that there was a review of sentencing guidelines; otherwise, monsters like Trotter, who have it in their DNA to abuse, will do so without fear of long sentences.''
Detective Inspector Nicki Davey, the investigating officer on the case, said:
''Paul Trotter worked in a position of trust. He abused the trust placed in him by the children and their parents.
''With the co-operation of Cunard and a complex investigation we were able to bring Trotter before the court and prevent him from continuing to abuse.
''His actions will have caused a great deal of distress to the families involved and other worried parents and we hope that today's sentencing will provide them some reassurance.''
Speaking outside court on Friday May 11th, Cunard president and managing director Peter Shanks said:
''This has been a harrowing investigation for all concerned, not least, of course, for the parents and families of the children.
''Their heartache will last far longer than Paul Trotter's time behind bars.
''And we at Cunard, together with child care experts at the NSPCC, are doing everything we can, no matter how long it takes, to ensure that the affected families are supported.
''We would like to thank the NSPCC for the work it has undertaken in reviewing all aspects of our policies, procedures and systems both on land and at sea.
''The review is now complete and we are implementing the recommendations to make sure we have in place every possible check and safeguard for children.
''As the head of this company, and as a parent myself, I am committed to ensuring that we will, hand in hand with the NSPCC, know that children can have the safest and most enjoyable holiday while on board our ships.''