Trainee priest accused of downloading indecent images walks free
Trainee Catholic priest accused of downloading indecent images of children wearing nappies was arrested in Surrey following a tip-off from the US security services before judge dismissed his case due to lack of evidence
- Henry Balkwill, 33, was arrested at Saint John’s Seminary in Guildford, Surrey
- It followed a tip-off from the US Department of Homeland Security, a court heard
- But the case was dropped due to lack of evidence and he was free to go
A trainee priest accused of downloading indecent images of children wearing nappies had the case thrown out by a judge due to lack of evidence.
Henry Balkwill, 33, was arrested in his room at Saint John’s Seminary in Guildford, Surrey, following a tip-off from the US Department of Homeland Security, a court was told.
He denied a charge of printing off 12 indecent images before scrapping them later.
The prosecutor at Staines Magistrates’ Court was unable to tie the account to Balkwill
Police in the UK were alerted after a United States Department of Homeland Security special agent tracked a user account ‘Diapered’, which trawled through child abuse websites, to IP addresses residing in his hometown of Wells, Somerset.
But the prosecutor at Staines Magistrates’ Court was unable to tie the account to Balkwill which resulted in the case being dismissed.
Alexa Le Moine, defending, said: ‘There is no causal link to connect the username “diapered” and the IP addresses.
‘There has been no admissible evidence that the username ‘Diapered’ accessed the platform with the [computer] or any admissible evidence that links the IP addresses with the 12 charged images.
‘There is no admission he used the name.
‘Diapered’ on any website nor any images were found on his devices.
‘He was arrested in September 2019 and the Crown have had ample time in making this connection but it remains absent in this case.’
District Judge Susan Cooper said: ‘The case is dismissed. You are free to go.’
Madeleine Deasy, prosecuting, said the Crown may consider listing the matter again for Balkwill to be handed a ‘sexual risk order’, citing evidence given in police interview – the court heard.
A Sexual Risk Order may be made in respect of an individual where it is believed that the individual has done an act of a sexual nature as a result of which there is reasonable cause to believe that they pose a risk of harm to the public in the UK or children or vulnerable adults abroad.
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