Magistrate’s extreme porn collection included animal sex images

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A SOUTH Yorkshire magistrate has been caught in possession of hundreds of “repugnant” extreme porn photos and videos - some showing women engaged in sexual activity with animals.

School governor Michael Hall, aged 46, downloaded the vile images to his laptop computer.

His sick collection - 230 photographs and 150 videos - was discovered when police raided his semi-detached home in September last year.

Some showed women engaging in acts with horses, a donkey, dogs, a gerbil, a frog and a live snake.

Officers acted on a tip-off after discovering the magistrate, whose online activity had raised concerns, had an account on a file-sharing website. Hall, of Foxland Avenue, Swinton, Rotherham, pleaded guilty at court to 21 specimen counts of possession of extreme pornography.

He was sentenced to a three-year community order which requires him to spend 144 days completing a programme for sex offenders.

Hall’s case was heard at Leeds Magistrates’ Court in West Yorkshire, rather than in South Yorkshire, where he would be well-known in judicial circles.

Hall was serving as a magistrate in Rotherham when his crimes were detected.

He was appointed to the bench in 2007 - and served until October last year when he realised his offending had come to light. He was also a governor at three Rotherham schools - St Thomas C of E Primary School in Kilnhurst, Swinton Fitzwilliam Primary School in Swinton, and Swinton Community School in Mexborough.

And he was a member of Rotherham Council’s Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Panel, which is made up of councillors and lay members with links to education or social care.

His role was to help scrutinise the council’s work in relation to policies and procedures affecting young people, such as anti-bullying strategies and how children in care are looked after.

Sally Sharp, head of the Crown Prosecution Service’s Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Unit in West Yorkshire, told The Star: “This case is particularly repugnant, involving multiple charges of possessing extreme pornographic images.

“The fact the defendant was a magistrate, and in a position of public authority and trust, is additionally an aggravating feature.”

She added: “This conviction sends out a clear message that no-one is above the law.”

A spokesman for Rotherham Council, speaking on behalf of the schools, said: “We have been made aware a Swinton man has been convicted of possessing extreme pornography.

“The council has supported the police with their investigation and we are pleased it has reached this outcome in court.

“We can confirm this individual was a governor at Swinton Community, Swinton Fitzwilliam and Kilnhurst St Thomas’ schools, and was a member of the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Panel.

“He has already resigned from all these posts.”

Possessing extreme pornography is an offence under the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, which makes it illegal to possess images of bestiality, necrophilia and acts which threaten life or are likely to result in serious injury.

Hall was also ordered to pay £85 towards court costs and will be supervised by the probation service for three years.