Wisbech man who forged documents to work with young people jailed for child and animal pornography offences
PUBLISHED: 14:00 23 February 2014 | UPDATED: 14:00 23 February 2014
A 39 year old man, who forged documents in a bid to continue working with young people at the Wisbech Sea Cadets, has been sent to jail for 20 months after pleading guilty to three child and animal pornography charges.
The news has been welcomed by two mothers who pulled their children out of the cadets after becoming concerned that the father of three had previous cautions for indecent images and common assault on a child.
Carrie-Ann Elliott said she was relieved that at last the criminal justice system had caught up with Andrew Mattless after she took her concerns to the cadets last September but was ignored.
The mother of two said: “Mattless had been with the cadets for three years with no CRB check. The cadets didn’t take action when I warned them, he continued to come into the unit and for that they didn’t do right by the children. What they did was fundamentally wrong.
“He appeared in the newspaper in September for these latest charges and yet in November he still took part in the Remembrance Day service with the children and was responsible for driving the mini bus to a fire station trip as the only adult in charge of young people.
“When I blew the whistle I was told it was slander, and told there was nothing wrong.
“I spoke to the cadets safeguarding officer. Nothing was done. The cadets didn’t do right. You have to protect children because you cannot get innocence back.”
Mattless, of Edinburgh Drive, appeared at Cambridge Crown Court where the judge heard that previous cautions for child porn images and assault charges had been taken off paperwork that he showed to the cadets as proof he was cleared to work with children and young people.
He pleaded guilty to possessing and making indecent images of children and animals. The charges date back to April 24 last year.
He also pleaded guilty to possessing 112 extreme animal porn images and more than 250 child porn images.
The charges relate to possessing 86 indecent images of children and making 173 indecent images of children.
Four of the offences are images rated at level five, considered the most offensive type of photo.
He was further charged with possessing an extreme image of somebody performing an act of intercourse on an animal and possessing 111 extreme pornographic images of a person performing oral sex on an animal.
Mum of four boys Leanne Hemsby, who pulled her 11 year old son out of the cadets after Mattless drove him home alone and unattended from a gala day in the summer, said: “He dropped him off and a neighbour came round to say had I heard he had a previous caution for child related offences and couldn’t be trusted.
“He was really friendly, said if ever I needed him to pick up my son he was only down the road. The cadets said he had already been checked and he was fine.
A spokesman for the Sea Cadets said that when they were made aware of the charges Mattless was asked to discontinue his service with them.
She said: “The charity takes its duty of care to young people very seriously and has strict policies and procedures in place to protect them.
“We have clear expectations of those placed in a position of trust and do not tolerate behaviour which harms young people, places them at risk of harm or that breaches the trust placed upon them.”
She said that Mattless was no longer a member of the organisation.
“Mr Mattless is not a member of the Sea Cadets and he isn’t permitted to take part in any of our activities or enter any of our premises”
A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Police said: “Mattless deliberately forged a letter in an effort to gain access to children and we’re pleased the court has recognised the danger he poses.
“Assault charges were still on the letter – he removed that he had a caution for indecent images and that he was being investigated.
“Possessing indecent images is not a victimless crime as it fuels the abuse of children. This case should send a strong message to those who think it is acceptable to possess such images.”