A shamed police officer has been jailed for possessing child pornography and encouraging a young boy to perform a sex act.
While Lee Tatton, a 54-year-old Staffordshire Police officer, was on duty he used a messaging service to ask a 13-year-old about the size of his penis and told him to masturbate. Police also found indecent images, including those of girls as young as six being abused, when they searched his home in Trentham.
He was fired in September after a disciplinary hearing and Birmingham Crown Court yesterday sentenced him to six months in jail. He will also be on the sex offenders register for seven years.
Police visited Tatton’s home at 6am on December 10 last year, when they found his phone between rolls of wrapping paper.
They discovered he had sent messages to a user who told the officer he was 13-years-old in August last year. While on duty, Tatton – who knew the boy’s age – asked him: ‘You bi, straight or gay?’
He then asked about the size of the child’s penis and told him to ‘get it hard’.
Police found four category A images which included the pictures of six-year-olds, five category B images and 20 category C still and moving images.
The ex-police officer had also searched disturbing terms including ‘very young girls’ and ‘under 18 chat’.
Tatton pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and four offences of making an indecent/pseudo photograph of a child.
Jasvir Singh Mann, mitigating, asked Judge Heidi Kubik QC to spare Tatton a jail sentence and instead impose a three-year community order to educate and rehabilite him.
Mr Mann said: ‘He is 54. Prior to these offences he was living a thoroughly decent life. He worked as a psychiatric nurse for a very long time. He then joined the police force in 2006.
‘In 2016 he received an award. The police have a very difficult job on a daily basis. The award recognises he went beyond the call of duty. A man was ready to jump off the Potteries shopping centre. He negotiated with the potential jumper and took him away from danger.
‘There are few falls from grace as big as his. He is mortified by his actions. He describes his behaviour as horrific. He feels remorse and shame. He will live with it for the rest of his life.
‘We, as a society, expect those in positions of trust, as he was, to behave to a high standard. He knows he has let the organisation down. He has let down his partner and children. All are thoroughly distressed by the position he has placed them in. He is distressed because he is responsible for that distress.’
Mr Mann also argued that Tatton has a history of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and was not ‘functioning normally at the time the offences were committed.’
But Judge Kubik QC jailed him for six months on Monday because the offence was ‘so serious’.
Judge Kubic QC said: ‘I take account of all that has been urged concerning your background, the effect on others, and prison conditions at the moment.
‘But I take the view that offending in that way, while at work, on duty, is so serious that it can only be met by an immediate sentence of imprisonment.’
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