Ex-BBC producer given suspended prison sentence for child abuse images

·3-min read
Victor Melleney of Kensington, west London, arrives at Kingston Crown Court (PA Archive)
Victor Melleney of Kensington, west London, arrives at Kingston Crown Court (PA Archive)

A former BBC producer who was caught with hundreds of indecent images of children at his home near to Kensington Palace has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Victor Melleney, 76, had abuse images on a hard-drive stashed in his dressing gown pocket when his home was raided by the National Crime Agency in 2018.

Officers scoured an array of electronic devices at his home in Sheffield Terrace, Kensington, as well as a £6 million property in Shepherd’s Bush.

Melleney, whose spent 30 years at the BBC on shows including Question Time and Panorama, claimed the images had been downloaded accidentally and were on the computer devices without his knowledge.

But he was convicted by a jury of knowing he had the cache of material, which included the abuse of children as young as two-years-old and video footage lasting 104 hours.

“You have only yourself to blame for the disgrace and shame that has befallen you, as a man of 76 years of age with a long and distinguished career behind you as a BBC producer”, said Mr Justice Bryan.

“This fuels the sexual abuse and untold suffering and harm to children who are abused. It causes profound and, in many cases, life-long adverse consequences for them – the very antithesis of a victimless crime.”

Melleney also admitted four counts of weapons possession, over three Tasers and a can of pepper spray which were found by NCA officers.

He was sentenced to 22 months in prison, suspended for the next two years, and was ordered to carry out 40 days of rehabilitation to tackle his sexual offending.

The judge noted Melleney’s ill-health and lack of offending since his arrest when deciding not to send him straight to prison, adding: “You have to live with the disgrace and ignominy you have brought on yourself.”

Melleney told Kingston crown court during his trial how he has been addicted to adult porn for several years, and he said he had not deliberately downloaded the 832 videos and photos featuring children.

He continued to deny knowing the abuse images and videos were on his devices, in a stance the judge said “defies belief”.

Prosecutor Paul Douglass told the court how Melleney’s wife first greeted NCA officers during the 7am raid on their home, and the retired TV producer then entered wearing a light-coloured dressing gown.

“While speaking to officers, in his dressing gown pocket the defendant had a hard-drive which contained the majority of the indecent images of children”, he said.

“It is the most damning evidence against him and it was in his pocket. It was only later on found by officers after the defendant had changed out of his dressing gown and put it in the bathroom.”

A Taser was found in his car, with two similar weapons recovered from his home along with the pepper spray. Melleney conceded in interview that he had been prepared to use the weapon in self-defence.

Melleney denies but was convicted of possessing indecent photographs of children. He was acquitted of making indecent photographs of children, possessing an extreme pornographic image, and possessing a prohibited image. He also pleaded guilty to four counts of possessing a prohibited weapon.

He will now be under a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for the next ten years.

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