Former Ramsgate school governor jailed for child sex doll offences

A former school governor and church warden from Ramsgate has been jailed for importing and having sex with a doll which depicted a realistic-looking child.

David Turner, 72, had also admitted possessing or making more than 34,000 illegal child sex images and movies at an earlier hearing.

Turner, of Hollicondane Road, was a school governor of St Ethelbert’s Church Primary School in Ramsgate.

At Canterbury Crown Court today (September 8) he was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment.

David Turner pleaded guilty to the following charges:

  • One charge of importing a child sex doll
  • Three charges of possession of indecent photos of a child
  • Three charges of making indecent photos of a child
  • One charge of possession of extreme pornographic images

He was sentenced to eight months imprisonment for the importation of the child sex doll and eight months for the remainder of the charges, in one of the first cases of its kind in the country.

The child sex doll is deemed to be an indecent or obscene article under the Customs Consolidation Act of 1876.

The importation of these items is becoming a growing problem and often indicates other offences, as in the case of Turner.

Donna East, from the CPS, said: “This is an unusual case and the CPS has only prosecuted a handful of other such cases to date, but we are starting to see more instances of this type of crime.

“Given the nature of the offence, which is very much modern day, with people ordering these sex dolls online, it is perhaps surprising that we are using laws dating back to the end of the 19th century, but this demonstrates how the law can apply to many circumstances.

“As in other cases elsewhere in the country, this was not just about the importation of a child sex doll. When the defendant’s address was searched, large numbers of indecent images of children were also found. This is why cases involving child sex dolls are particularly alarming, as they can be an indicator of other offending.”

NSPCC call for action

Peter Wanless, the CEO of children’s charity the NSPCC, has written to the Government calling for child sex dolls to be criminalised in the same way as indecent images of children.

Following a number of recent prosecutions of people importing the dolls, Mr Wanless has highlighted the “baffling” gap in the law which means it’s not a crime to make, distribute or own a child sex doll. He has urged Home Secretary Amber Rudd to take “swift action”.

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “The importation of these grotesque dolls is an emerging problem and – as in this case – appears to be prevalent among individuals who have amassed indecent images and harmed children through their online activities.

“There is no evidence that these items help potential abusers. In fact, there is a real risk that those who use them could become desensitised and go on to abuse children.

“We’re calling on the government to close a disturbing legal loophole and make it a crime to create, distribute or possess these dolls.”

Getting help

The NSPCC helpline is always available for anyone with concerns about abuse on 0808 800 5000, while children can contact Childline, 24 hours-a-day and for free on 0800 1111.