A FORMER West Yorkshire Police detective has been sentenced for downloading child pornography.
Michael Vause claimed that “curiosity” led to him downloading vile images of children as young as four, when he appeared before Kirklees Magistrates’ Court in Huddersfield.
He was slammed by District Judge Marie Mallon, who told him that the children in the 563 pictures were being abused in the gravest possible way.
Vause, who worked for the force’s professional standards department, admitted 10 counts of making indecent images, at a previous hearing in the Huddersfield court.
Yesterday he was sentenced to a high level community order for three years and ordered to sign the Sex Offenders' Register for five years
Judge Mallon also ordered the destruction of Vause’s images and his computer.
The photographs were downloaded on or before May 12 this year at the 59-year-old’s home address in Wentbridge Lane, Pontefract.
The young girls involved in the images on the computer seized by police were aged between four and 12.
The photographs included 562 considered level one, which is the lowest of five counts legally designated to cover indecent images of children.
Level one typically involves images of children without sexual activity.
One of the images was the more serious level three, which involves sexual activity between adults and children.
Vause had more than 30 years experience as a police officer before taking retirement and returning as a civilian member of staff.
He was previously commended for outstanding work as a detective based at Pontefract CID.
At the time of his arrest he was working with professional standards, which investigates allegations of wrongdoing against police.
He has since resigned from his positions with the force.
Vause’s solicitor Roger Clapham, said that his client had been so ashamed about his behaviour he was “unable to speak” following his arrest.
He said: “He has suffered a because of this and the position he used to hold.
“He’s had an exemplary career and was commended for his outstanding work in the past.
“This is something which was nothing to do with his work.
“Curiosity killed the cat, that’s how it started and it’s gone from there.”
Judge Mallon said although there were a large number of images, a non-custodial sentence was more appropriate and in line with guidelines.
However the judge told Vause that she did not accept curiosity as an explanation.
She told him: “These are images of children being sexually abused in the gravest possible way.’’