Children’s doctor shared child porn ‘ because he was tired of his job’
He used military-grade software in failed attempt to cover his tracks
‘Distributed extreme movies’
A SENIOR children’s doctor who distributed child porn videos because he was ‘tired of his job’ was jailed for three years yesterday.
Dr Jonathan Walsh, a fatherof-two, downloaded at least 27 abuse films from the internet during his time off from treating sick children.
The paediatric consultant published 24 of these on a secret website where paedophiles swap graphic images with each other.
The films featured boys and girls aged two to eight and had a total playing time of 18 hours.
All but one were classed as Category A images – meaning they showed the most serious type of abuse. Walsh, 47, was arrested during a police raid on his home in September 2015.
Detectives believe the married doctor may have downloaded many more child porn films, as they found 300 files had been deleted from his computer.
He had used ‘military-grade’ technology in an attempt to wipe the child abuse files from his hard drive.
Walsh worked at North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple, where his responsibilities included safeguarding children.
He was sacked after he was charged with 17 offences of making and distributing indecent films of children, Exeter Crown Court heard.
None of the offences related to patients at the hospital.
However, the NHS set up a special hotline for anyone worried they might have been affected by his crimes.
Walsh told his solicitor he committed the offences because he was ‘tired’ of working at the hospital and wanted to quit his job.
Following his arrest, he moved from Barnstaple to Lytham St Annes, Lancashire. Walsh was arrested after police received electronic intelligence linking his computer with the distribution of the films.
When detectives trawled through his computer memory, they discovered he had used a programme called CyberScrub to remove all traces of the films he had downloaded.
The makers of CyberScrub describe it as a ‘data cleaner that uses US military-grade technology to securely delete’ information from a computer ‘before the bad guys find it’. However a data recovery specialist helped police find unique digital signatures, known as hash values, on Walsh’s computer that were then matched to child abuse movies available on the internet.
Jailing him, Judge Geoffrey Mercer told Walsh: ‘To state that your sexual interest in children causes real concern in relation to someone in your position is a massive understatement.
‘Over a period of at least some months, you were involved in downloading and distributing extreme movies and images portraying sexual abuse of children and you went to considerable lengths to try and conceal what it was you were doing.
‘Your career is now, of course, at an end. To quote from you from one of your letters you have written to me, “through my actions I have lost my job, my career and my reputation and caused great harm to the ones I love”.’
The judge said Walsh, who pleaded guilty to the offences, was a man of previous ‘good character’ whose friends had provided references in which they ‘speak very highly of you’.
Defence barrister Lee Gledhill said Walsh was full of ‘severe regret’ for what he had done.
‘He is aware that these are real children in the videos and of harm he indirectly caused by the re-distribution of these images,’ he added.
‘He was tired of his job and wanted to get out of medicine after many years of training and working.
‘He practised medicine for some considerable years and had a positive impact on the community he lived in. He and his wife are still together but he had to explain this to his own children.’ Speaking after the case, Detective Inspector Andrea Kingdon said: ‘Walsh was a practising and respected paediatrician in North Devon when he was committing these crimes. He let himself and his profession down by his activities, which he went to great lengths to hide.
‘The nature of the offending on the images and videos distributed by Dr Walsh are at the most serious end of the scale, and some of these include movies some hours in length.
‘This is an incredibly upsetting and challenging task for my team to work through.’
An NSPCC spokesman said it was clear Walsh’s only concern was ‘his own twisted gratification’. He added: ‘Behind every image of online child abuse is a child who has suffered a horrific ordeal in the real world.’
Jailed: Dr Jonathan Walsh copied at least 27 abuse films