Essex Police explain why they did not publish photograph of Harlow sex offender

Crime / Thu 2nd Jul 2020 am31 09:29am

EARLIER this week, we reported that Gerry Parnham of Barn Mead had been jailed for possession of tens of thousands of images of child abuse.

The full report is below.

The police also informed the press that they did not have a picture of Gerry Parnham.

We asked why.

Essex Police told us that Parnham “was voluntarily interviewed and on those occasions, quite often, it means a custody photo isn’t taken”.

We then asked: “If Parnham had not attended court for sentencing (he was on bail) or had escaped from lawful custody, you would not be able to provide a photograph if you decided to publish an appeal.

“That’s an appeal to find a man who was found in possession of 24 years worth of child abuse images.

“Can you see how that may not sound very reassuring to the people of Harlow and beyond?”

Essex Police responded: “In a scenario where a decision is made that a public appeal for information about the location of someone we want to speak to in connection with a particular incident or investigation and where we don’t have custody image of that person we would look to source it from elsewhere.

“That may be from social media or from another agency for example, and this is something we have done in the past.

“In this particular instance, that was not necessary”.


Full report

A MAN who was found with tens of thousands indecent images of children has been jailed thanks to an investigation by a team tackling online child abuse.

Officers from our Police Online Investigation Team (POLIT) executed a warrant at Gerry Parnham’s home in Barn Mead, Harlow on 20 April 2018.

During the warrant officers seized a number of items capable of storing digital media and when they were forensically searched were found to contain indecent images of children dating back to 1996.

In total there were more than 5,000 of the most serious Category A images, more than 5,500 Category B images, and more than 43,000 Class C images.

There were also nearly 750 films – totalling 127 hours – most of which were of the most serious Category A.

69 year-old Parnham was later charged with three counts of making indecent images of children and one count of possession of prohibited images of children.

He admitted the charges and at Chelmsford Crown Court on 18 June was jailed for 16 months.

He was also given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.

Investigating officer PC Sam Petken, from POLIT, said: “Gerry Parnham is a dangerous and prolific offender who built up an extensive and horrifying library of child abuse over two decades.

“The scale and longevity of his offending is shocking and Essex is a safer place now he’s behind bars.

“I have no doubt his conviction will help to keep children safe.”

Detective Inspector Jo Collins, who leads POLIT, said: “The work my team does often takes place behind closed doors and away from the public eye. The images and videos that my officers have to view is horrific and they are a credit to Essex Police that they undertake this work with commitment and professionalism.

“As this case shows, the work they do is so important to ensure dangerous sexual offenders are put behind bars and prevent putting any more children in danger.

“I hope communities across Essex can be reassured that while they go about their daily business there is a team of dedicated and determined officers ensuring children are kept safe online.”


Essex Police has told us that they do not have a custody photograph of Gerry Parnham.

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