Paedophile pensioner “spent too much time” with young footballers

NOTTINGHAM Crown Court, where Russell was sentenced.
NOTTINGHAM Crown Court, where Russell was sentenced.

Indecent images of children were found on the computer of a Hucknall pensioner said to be “spending too much time with young boys” from a football club.

Paedophile Robert Russell, of St Mary’s View, Ogle Street, had been giving lifts to the boys, taking them to and from matches, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

But the alarm was raised by the parents of youngsters who played for the club, which is based in the Mansfield and Ashfield area.

So police paid a visit to the home of 69-year-old Mr Russell, and as they cautioned him, they asked if he had any images on his computer.

“He said maybe, and when his computer was seized, the police officers found a total of 25 indecent photographs of children,” Grace Hale, prosecuting, told the court.

“Of these, there were two still images from the most serious category A, 17 still images from category B, four still images from category C and two moving images from category B.

“Russell made full admissions when interviewed. He has previous convictions for sex offences against young children, but not since the 1980s.

“The police visited him because concerns were raised about him spending too much time with young boys.”

Russell pleaded guilty to four counts of making indecent photographs of children between July 2009 and June 2014.

No suggestion was made in court that he committed any offences involving the boys who played for the football club.

But after he was arrested, magistrates banned him from “having communication or contact with any representative of Ashfield Community Football Club”.

Daniel Church, mitigating, said Russell had already made his first appointment with the Community Sex Offender Group Programme, which is a nationally-accredited programme based on research into what works to prevent sexual re-offending.

After reading a pre-sentence report prepared by probation officers, Judge Andrew Hamilton gave Russell a three-year community order and placed him on the sex offenders’ register for five years.

Russell was also issued with a sexual harm prevention order, which bans him from any unsupervised contact with boys under the age of 16, without the consent of their parents. It also prohibits him from inviting boys to his home, unless approved by social services, and severely restricts his use of social media networks.

Three parents of boys who play for the football club were in court to see Russell receive his sentence.

Judge Hamilton thanked them for “bringing this matter to the attention of the police and showing your concern”.

He also took steps to re-assure them about the possible danger Russell might continue to pose to young boys.

“His previous offences were a long time ago,” said the judge. “Now that this order is in place, the risk of him re-offending is reduced to very low. He will be closely monitored by the probation service.”