‘Trusted’ paedophile hunter policeman caught with nearly 1,000 child porn images

Lee Vincent Kelly’s 19 year career ended in a courtroom disgrace after downloaded pictures were found during a raid on his home

A respected policeman who helped to hunt paedophiles was caught with nearly 1,000 ­indecent images of children.

Lee Vincent Kelly, 50, had been due to receive a commendation from his chief constable to mark 19 years of outstanding service.

Kelly had been working with undercover officers in a child sex crimes unit and was previously involved in targeting drug gangs.

But his career ended in disgrace when the downloaded pictures were found during a raid at his home in December 2016.

He admitted his guilt at Preston Crown Court but denied the images were for sexual gratification.

Judge Andrew Woolman told Kelly he had narrowly avoided going to prison.

He said: “You gained, no doubt, a lot of technical knowledge as to how the dark web worked and how people exchanged images of children.

Quite wrongly and in a dreadful abuse of trust you used that knowledge for yourself. I have come to the conclusion that I can, just, justify the suspension of a prison sentence.

“I’m doing that because you were of good character and because of all the good work you have done before you brought disgrace upon yourself.”

Kelly, who lost his job at Greater Manchester Police, admitted making indecent images of children.

He was sentenced to 10 months in jail, suspended for two years, and ordered to attend rehabilitation sessions.

The judge prohibited the publication of the ­defendant’s photo and full address for the protection of other undercover officers and integrity of operations.

Kelly previously lived in the Burnley area.

Lisa Roberts QC, in mitigation, said Kelly conceded he went about his job in a “wholly improper way” and had shown genuine remorse.