August 2003

Commons clerk jailed over child porn

A senior clerk at the House of Commons who used his work computer to download hardcore child pornography has been jailed for one year.

Phillip Lyon was also found guilty on Tuesday of using his home computer to collect more than 1,000 images of children – some of whom were toddlers subjected to “disgusting” sexual acts.

He was discovered by chance when an IT consultant came to repair another clerk’s computer at the Commons and opened a file showing “something terribly wrong”, London’s Southwark Crown Court was told.

Riel Karmy-Jones, prosecuting, told the jury Lyon had used his computer “to pursue his interest and perhaps curiosity” in this type of material.

She said: “He searched for it on the internet and when found, downloaded it for his delectation later.”

‘It is like a drug’

Lyon, 38, from Stanford le Hope, Essex, denied 12 counts of making an indecent image of a child between October 2001 and April 2002.

“He had far wider usage of the internet than these 12 occasions,” said Ms Karmy-Jones.

In court this week, Lyon denied he could have downloaded pornography at work, because other people had access to his computer and anyone could walk into his busy, open office.

He said others had access to his computer.

When arrested, Lyon allegedly likened his problem to that of a drug addict.

“It is like a drug – you try one and you want to try something harder and it has a snowball effect,” he told officers.