Former police officer jailed after paying teen, 14, to pose naked
- Credit: Devon & Cornwall Police
An amateur photographer has been jailed for paying a 14-year-old girl to pose naked for him and then posting one of the images online.
Retired Metropolitan Police officer Andrew Vernon’s actions left the girl with serious psychological issues including thoughts of suicide and it took her three years before she was able to confide in a school counsellor.
Police found a hoard of other images of teenaged girls on his laptop after his arrest, which he had downloaded from the internet.
Officers also recovered images from an ammunition safe at his former home in East Devon of an adult woman in a shower which he had filmed secretly.
The two victims wrote powerful impact statements. The girl said she is being treated for severe depression and has psychological scars which she will take to the grave.
She said: “It has broken me in so many ways, I have a sense of feeling shattered.” The adult victim said she felt betrayed.
Vernon, 59, now of Maple Road, Exeter, admitted taking and distributing indecent images of the 14-year-old, two counts of making (by downloading), indecent images of children and one of voyeurism.
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He was jailed for 18 months by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court and ordered to sign on the sex offenders’ register. The judge adjourned an application for a sexual harm prevention order.
He told him: “You admitted these offences after trying to minimise your sexual interest in teenaged girls. You got a 14-year-old girl into posing for you and manoeuvred her into doing that. The problems that you caused have been set out in her personal statement.
“That offence is very significantly aggravated by the distribution of an image online. The constellation of offences makes the case too serious for this sentence to be suspended.”
Mr Greg Richardson, prosecuting, said the teenaged girl made disclosures at school last year about having posed for the naked pictures three years earlier when she was 14.
She revealed that Vernon paid her £75 for a 30 minute photo shoot in which he got her to pose topless and then fully naked, and pose with her arms above her head and her hands running through her hair.
He showed her a blank SD card shortly afterwards and told her he had deleted everything but he downloaded them onto his laptop and sent one to an amateur photographic website.
Police recovered a total of 441 images from his laptop and USB and SD cards hidden in an ammunition safe. There was only one showing an adult having sex with a child.
Matthew Graham, defending, said Vernon, formerly of Axminster, wants to apologise for the hurt he has caused. He has signed up for an online course run by the Lucy Faithfull Foundation to address his behaviour and is receiving counselling.
He said Vernon is very keen to attend courses run by the probation service which could only be offered if he was still at liberty. He has no previous convictions and has been volunteering at a charity in Exeter.