Nursery worker jailed for sexual assault on toddler

Paedophile Richard Turner.

A nursery worker has been jailed for sexually assaulting a toddler in his care and downloading over 40,000 indecent images of children.

Paedophile Richard Turner, 48, was due to face trial at Teesside Crown Court on Tuesday for the assault but instead admitted one count of sexually assaulting the young girl before a jury was sworn in.

He had already admitted downloading over 46,000 depraved photos and videos of children.

Turner, who was living in Catterick Garrison at the time of his offences, pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images and one count of sexual assaulting a child.

He denied two other allegations of sexually assaulting a girl under 13 years of age and failing to disclose the password for a hard drive.

These pleas were accepted by the prosecution and not guilty verdicts were recorded on those two allegations.

The ex-soldier – who was already serving a nine-and-a-half-year jail sentence child sex offences against children – downloaded no less than 46,436 indecent images – 255 of which were rated Category A, the worst kind of such material involving the serious sexual abuse of children.

The enormous collection of photos and movie clips were found on a device at Turner’s home in Catterick and had been downloaded between August 2016 and April 2018, said prosecutor Paul Newcombe.

The court heard Turner, who is a father, committed the offences while working at a North Yorkshire nursery after gaining qualifications in Scotland and then moving to Catterick with his wife.

The mother of the toddler who was sexually assaulted by the paedophile said her daughter had since suffered from “severe anxiety”.

The sexual assault occurred between April 2016 and May 2017, but the offences didn’t come to light until early last year, when Turner was brought in for police questioning.

He was already serving a long prison sentence for previous offences of possessing more than 100,000 indecent images of children and sexual assaults on three very-young girls while taking indecent photos of them.

That sentence was imposed at Teesside Crown Court in August 2019, but Mr Newcombe said that Turner’s new offences were part of the “same tranche” of offending, occurring during the same period but only coming to light years later.

At the time of his first arrest in 2018, Turner was found with a “child-like” prosthetic sex doll at his home in Catterick Garrison, which was searched by police for evidence of online sex crimes.

Officers found “vast collections” of child-abuse images stored on Turner’s computers and digital devices.

As well as the images, police found a rucksack containing children’s underwear and a prosthetic, child-like doll which had been used.

The former military man – who had moved to Leeds by the time he was sentenced for the first set of offences – had left the army after serving for 20 years after suffering serious injuries when a Land Rover he was in was blown up by a roadside bomb during one of his tours of duty in Afghanistan.

Judge Howard Crowson slammed Turner for his latest sexual assault on the toddler which he described as “appalling”.

“She (now) distrusts all men except her father,” said the judge.

“She was particularly vulnerable by reason of her (extremely young age). This has had a very long-term effect upon (her).”

Jailing Turner for a further two-and-a-half years – which will be served consecutive to his current prison term – Mr Crowson said it was a “significantly reduced” sentence because it was effectively part and parcel of his earlier offending.

Turner will remain on the original sexual-harm prevention order, which was imposed at the 2019 sentence and will run indefinitely.