Former government minister jailed for making and distributing indecent images of children
An ex-Government minister and former MP has been jailed for making and distributing indecent images of children.
Today (12 May 2023), Paul Clark, 66, who represented Gillingham between 1997 and 2010 and was the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport from 2008 to 2010, was sentenced to 28 months imprisonment at Maidstone Crown Court today. He has also been issued with a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and must sign the sex offenders register.
The CPS authorised charges against Clark, who pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children and six counts of distributing indecent images of children between April 2013 and May 2021.
The court heard that when Clark was arrested at his home address by the National Crime Agency (NCA) he initially made no comment, but later said to officers, “I know why you’re here”, and “I kept telling myself to stop”.
When interviewed under caution, on two occasions he replied no comment to all questions asked.
A variety of digital equipment was seized from Clark’s address which provided a significant amount of digital evidence, including a total of 1,446 indecent images of children as well as conversations in which he received and distributed indecent images to others.
Catrin Attwell, Specialist Prosecutor of the CPS’ Organised Child Sexual Abuse Unit, said: “Paul Clark knew he was in possession of and shared indecent images of children but did not admit his wrongdoing when interviewed under caution. When later presented with the overwhelming evidence, he pleaded guilty.
“Examination of the electronic devices revealed offences relating to indecent images of children on five devices, this included imagery of children as young as three and a high number of moving images.
“The electronic devices also revealed chatlogs in which Clark discussed his sexual desires, distributed indecent images of children to others for their sexual gratification and used social media to identify and talk to users under the age of 18.
“Our Organised Child Sexual Abuse Unit was set up in April 2022 to prosecute child sexual abuse. We work closely with law enforcement agencies to build strong cases against offenders using the internet and social media to commit sexual offences and are determined to help stop the devastating impact of these crimes on victims and bring offenders to justice.”
The court was told that there was no evidence that any of the offending took place while Clark was in office.
Notes to editors
- Catrin Attwell is a Specialist Prosecutor for the Organised Child Sexual Abuse Unit within the Serious, Economic Organised Crime and International Directorate (SEOCID) of the Crown Prosecution Service
- Paul Clark (DOB: 29/04/1957) pleaded guilty on 2 December 2022 and has been sentenced today at Maidstone Crown Court for three counts of making an indecent photograph/pseudo-photograph of a child and six counts of distributing an indecent photograph/pseudo-photograph of a child