Child porn gardener is jailed

Jailed: Damian Jenkinson
Jailed: Damian Jenkinson

WIGAN’S former In Bloom poster boy is in jail today after he was caught with a collection of vile child porn.

One of the images in Damian Jenkinson’s possession, Liverpool Crown Court heard, involved the sexual abuse of a three-month-old baby.

The hearing was told that the top gardener and high-profile Wigan council employee was caught out after his partner suspected him of having an affair, checked his laptop and found the revolting images.

He rang Jenkinson, former co-ordinator for Wigan Council’s In Bloom projects, and told him what he had found and then rang the police, said Sarah Johnson, prosecuting.

Police officers seized the computer equipment and when it was forensically analysed a total of 338 indecent images, of which 165 were in the most serious category.

Jailing 28-year-old Jenkinson, who has been runner-up in the BBC Young Gardener of the Year, Judge Mark Brown said that but for people like him such appalling abuse would not take place.

“There has to be an immediate prison sentence to send the message out to others,” he said.

He told Jenkinson that he did not accept his claims that the images had come to him by mistake and that he did not get sexual gratification from them.

Jenkinson, of Liverpool Road, Platt Bridge, had admitted three offences of possessing indecent images and nine of making such images.

He was jailed for 10 months, given a 10-year sexual offences prevention order, ordered to sign on the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years and must pay a £100 surcharge.

Paul Becker, defending, said that Jenkinson has lost his £30,000 a year job, his relationship, his home and good name. He realises he has also brought shame on his family.

Much of Jenkinson’s work brought him into direct contact with Wigan schoolchildren but his former employer stressed today that there was no suggestion from police investigations that any of them had fallen victim to his cravings.

Terry Dunn, Wigan Council’s Director of Environment, said: “As soon as the council was contacted by Greater Manchester Police regarding the allegations we suspended Damian Jenkinson straight away and his employment was subsequently terminated.

“We fully supported the police investigation and ensured that our multi-agency safeguarding procedures were implemented, putting child protection at the forefront of our actions.

“Following a thorough police investigation there is no evidence that any of the images that Damian Jenkinson downloaded or created involved any local children or that any children in Wigan Borough were put at risk.”