Former MP sentenced for child sex offence

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PA Media

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Eric Joyce, who pleaded guilty to making an indecent image of a child, has been sentenced

A former Labour MP and ex-Army officer who admitted making an indecent image of a child has been sentenced.

Eric Joyce had a 51-second film on a device that showed “the sexual abuse of very young children”, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

The former shadow minister and ex-MP for Falkirk was arrested in 2018.

Joyce, 59, of Worlingworth, Suffolk, was sentenced to eight months in prison suspended for two years, and must complete 150 hours of unpaid work.

The court heard the category A film – the most serious there is – was accessed by Joyce between August 2013 and November 2018.

It featured what appeared to be seven different children, aged between 12 months and seven years.

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PA Media

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Joyce, seen here in 2015, served in the Army for 21 years

Judge Mr Justice Edis said: “That these acts of abuse happened is because there are people like you who want to watch these films.

“If there was no market, those children wouldn’t be subjected to these very serious offences.”

The judge said Joyce had “sought help” and there was evidence he had been able to “reduce, perhaps completely” his “impulsive behaviour”.

Michael Proctor, prosecuting, said a number of computer devices and hard drives were seized by police from Joyce’s address in November 2018 following intelligence.

Initially Joyce told police “he had never seen child abuse material”, Mr Proctor said.

But following analysis of his computer, Joyce told police that some of what he said “wasn’t true” and that “he had seen a mixture of images”.

The prosecution said there was evidence of searches “for material for five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10-year-old girls”.

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Met Police

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Joyce was convicted of assaulting two teenagers in London in 2014

Joyce served as a Labour MP from 2000 to 2012, before sitting as an independent until 2015.

He originally joined the Army in 1977 before serving for 21 years, during which he rose to the rank of major.

The court heard his previous convictions included drink-driving, common assaults and a public order offence.

Mitigating, Mark Shelley said Joyce had no previous convictions for sexual offences and that he had given up drinking.

Joyce also received a sexual harm prevention order, was given an 18-day rehabilitation activity requirement and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,800.



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