Harlow’s former top cop may face jail after pleading guilty to indecent images of children charge

Crime / Fri 13th Mar 2015 at 02:47pm

A SENIOR officer with Essex police is facing jail after pleading guilty to making five indecent images of children.

Ben Hodder, 34, former district commander for Thurrock who had spent more than 15 years with the force, was arrested on 8 May last year.

Hodder had held the post as district commander for Harlow in 2010 until 2012.

He appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court today (Friday, 13 March) to enter his guilty plea to making one category B image and four category C images between November and December 2013.

A further charge of making two category A images – the very worst level between October and December 2010 was dropped when the prosecution offered no evidence.

Hodder claimed that one of the children allegedly being abused in a DVD found in his possession was in fact a very young-looking adult.

Allan Compton, for Hodder, said: ‘In short there were two images we were concerned about. Enquiries both here and abroad have found that the subject is well over the age of 18 albeit very young looking.’

Mr Compton said at an earlier hearing: ‘[Mr Hodder] does understand that the boys in the second charge are 15 or 16, so it’s clear that the matter doesn’t require a trial.’

He continued: ‘There is a sexual offences prevention order application, and there may be a discussion as to whether in this case such an order is necessary.’

Hodder, who has been suspended from his post with Essex police since his arrest, was warned he would be ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register.

Adjourning Hodder’s sentence until 17 April, Judge David Radford said: ‘Parliament has required that following your conviction you will have to be placed on the sex offenders’ register, as far as everything else is concerned that will be dealt with on the next occasion.

Hodder, of San Marcos Drive, Chafford Hundred, Thurrock, appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court in a grey shirt and black tie and was granted unconditional bail until his sentence.

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