Former Met officers admit plot to share child sex abuse footage with senior officer | UK News

Two retired Metropolitan Police officers have admitted conspiring for three years to share child sex abuse footage with a serving Met Chief Inspector, who was found dead before being charged.

Jack Addis, 63, and Jeremy Laxton, 62, pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court in London on Thursday to conspiring with Richard Watkinson, 49, to distribute or show indecent images of children.

Police said the images and videos were shared via hard drives that the men posted and hid in hidden spaces in their homes.

Watkinson, a Met Chief Inspector on Duty for Neighborhood Policing at the West Area Command Unit, was found dead at his home in Buckinghamshire on January 12.

He had been suspended from duty after his arrest in July 2021 and on January 12 was due to post bail to be charged with conspiracy, as well as three counts of taking indecent photographs of a child, voyeurism and two counts of misconduct in the public service. .

His death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious by Thames Valley Police, who are preparing a report for the coroner after an inquest is opened and adjourned.

According to the prosecution, the three men conspired to “distribute or show each other indecent images of children” between January 1, 2018 and July 10, 2021.

Laxton, of Grantham, Lincolnshire, also pleaded guilty to three counts of making an indecent image of a child, possessing a prohibited image, possessing an extreme pornographic image and possessing cannabis in the no later than September 20, 2021.

He further admitted a charge of intentionally abetting or aiding in the commission of the offense of misconduct in public office between December 1, 2019 and May 1, 2021.

The court heard Laxton had previously pleaded guilty to similar offenses and was awaiting sentencing at Lincoln Crown Court, while Addis, from Perthshire, is in jail in Scotland.

Addis appeared in court via video link from HMP Dumfries where he is serving an 18-month sentence on three counts of voyeurism and possession of indecent photographs of a child.

The judge, Tony Baumgartner, adjourned sentencing, which will be carried out by a High Court judge on a date to be fixed.

Baumgartner granted Laxton parole before the next June 23 hearing.

PA Media contributed to this report

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