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Jailed for 'despicable trade': Former member of staff at Upminster's Stubbers Adventure centre downloaded 100 indecent images of children

PUBLISHED: 16:42 02 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:47 02 August 2019

Christopher Luck was caught after a sting by internet group The Soloceptors. Picture: Facebook/The Soloceptors

Christopher Luck was caught after a sting by internet group The Soloceptors. Picture: Facebook/The Soloceptors

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A former member of staff at Stubbers Adventure centre has been jailed for attempting to engage in sexual communication with children as young as nine.

Christopher Luck of Annalee Gardens, South Ockendon, was jailed at Snaresbrook Crown Court today (Friday, August 2) for two years and eight months for a range of sexual offences.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of making (downloading) indecent photographs of children, three counts of distributing indecent photographs, four counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, three counts of inciting a child to engage in a sexual act and two counts of causing a child to watch a sexual act.

The former member of staff at Stubbers also pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis.

Luck was arrested on April 6 last year after a woman from vigilante group Paedophile Hunters pretended to be a 13-year-old girl and started speaking to Luck on the social media app Kik.

The 42-year-old sent the woman, who he thought was 13, a video of himself with an erection and told her that he wanted her to perform an oral sex act on him.

Prosecutor Usha Shergill told the court: "This is not a single incident but a protracted course of conduct.

"In the chats with [the nine-year-old] Mr Luck expressed in very graphic terms that he wanted to teach her how to perform oral sex.

"The police found 40,800 Kik messages on his phone.

"They used the search term 'daddy' and 1,511 results were returned.

"Officers recovered chats between four girls claiming to be between nine and 14-years-old."

As the Crown Prosecution Service was unable to confirm the ages of four other young people that Luck spoke with on the app, he was charged with attempting to engage with children.

The images found on Luck's phone ranged from category A (the most serious) to category C and came to a total of 57 pictures and 43 videos.

He also distributed a further 35 indecent images with other people using the Kik app.

Maria Karaiskos, who defended Luck, said that it was clear no offences had been committed while he was at work.

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She said: "No complaints have been made. He was there for some four years but he was never alone with children.

"He has now been in custody for some time, and while he has been in custody he has made progress.

"He has completed a cognitive behavioural therapy course which has enabled Mr Luck to deal depression.

Judge Gerard Pounder referred to the sexual offences as a "horrific" and "despicable trade".

He told the court: "We are dealing with an industry which preys on the misery of children and makes them subject to harrowing ordeals.

"Although you did not know the children, there is no doubt that they will be damaged by this.

"It creates a concerning, worrying picture, especially if you look at your background.

"You're a man in your 40s, you had a successful career and you've got a family of your own, no one knows why it went so dramatically off the rails.

"The big worry for everybody is that you were in a situation where you were working with young people.

"You can imagine how worried the parents might have been about all of these circumstances."

Judge Pounder gave Luck concurrent sentences which came to a total of eight months. He was also jailed for two years for count four - distributing indecent photographs - and this will run consecutive to the eight month sentence.

There was no penalty for the drugs offence.

Once he is released from prison Luck will be subject to a sexual harm prevention order to last five years.

A spokesman from Stubbers said: "We were naturally shocked at the time of Christopher Luck's arrest as the person we knew at work was clearly very different to the person we now know he could be at home.

"We are grateful that justice has been done and hope this can provide some degree of closure for those affected by his actions.

"As you'd expect, we have thoroughly reviewed our safeguarding procedures and we are pleased to confirm that everything was and remains in place, exactly as it should be.

"However, this whole process has been an education for us all, one we don't ever want to repeat so as a result, we will be more vigilant than ever, to ensure we can focus on what we do best, to deliver safe, fun and adventurous activities for young people."

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