AN OFFICER in the Royal Navy downloaded thousands of child porn pictures and then tried to shift the blame on to his own family.
Disgraced Lieutenant Commander Frederick Gerrell was found with more than 11,000 images and nearly 300 moving pictures of child pornography on various computers and discs.
When the 51-year-old Falklands veteran was confronted by MoD police he tried to shift the blame on to his 19-year-old-son, his son’s friends and his wife.
But the father-of three eventually came clean and confessed his guilt.
Between 2001 and 2005, Gerrell downloaded thousands of images, some of which showed children being sexually abused, on to computers at his Gosport and London homes.
Gerrell, who served in the Royal Navy for 35 years, was caught in November 2005 when police traced some of the images to his home computer.
At Portsmouth Crown Court Gerrell was spared jail, instead receiving a nine-month prison sentence suspended for two years.
Judge Price said: ‘It is wholly unnecessary and undesirable to make you serve that sentence straight away.
‘You could serve that sentence standing on your head.
‘You have lost your good name – further punishment by making you serve that sentence now is in my view wholly unnecessary and could be counter-productive.’
Gerrell could now face being kicked out of the navy or being stripped of his pension.
A spokeswoman for the Royal Navy said: ‘Now that legal proceedings are complete the Royal Navy will consider the effects of the conviction on this officer’s career as appropriate.
‘It is up to the Royal Navy to look in to this matter and a decision is likely to be made next week.’
The court was told that Gerrell’s wife was standing by him but that his children had refused to speak to him about his offences.
Detective Sergeant Jim Pullinger from the MoD Police said: ‘We are pleased that this inquiry has resulted in the conviction of an offender.
‘Gerrell had initially tried to hide his offending from investigating officers however as a result of the thorough inquiry his true involvement was uncovered.
‘We regard such crimes as very serious because for each image there is a victim.’
Gerrell of Terriagon Drive, Blackpool, will be monitored by the probation service for the next two years and his name will remain on the Sex Offender’s Register for 10 years.