Police pair cleared of child porn

they always denied knowing there were images on their discs.


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Two local gay police officers have been cleared of charges relating to possession of child pornography.

Det Con Graham Ferguson and Pc Gerard Collins denied knowing there were pornographic images of children on their computer discs. The two police officers burst into tears and embraced in the dock after being cleared of child pornograph charges.

The jury of eight women and four men at returned unanimous verdicts on all six charges.

The couple would have faced jail terms if convicted of the charges at Southwark Crown Court. The verdicts came after one of the officers told jurors he was attracted to older men, not young boys or girls.

Pc Collins, 27, who won a commendation for his work during the 7/7 bombings, collapsed sobbing into his partner's arms when the verdicts were announced.

Mr Collins was charged along with his partner Det Con Ferguson, 41, who works in the Met's Professional Standards Directorate, which investigates other officers.

Colleagues of Mr Ferguson discovered the images in his work files while he was off for several weeks in January 2007 after he fell ill. The discovery prompted a further search of the couple's London home, where more images were found on both a disc and a laptop computer.

Mr Collins, a British Transport Police constable, testified that he believed the pictures on the discs and laptop may have been accidentally included in one of his overnight "bulk downloads" of gay porn and duplicated when he used floppy discs to back up other material.

July 30, 2008