Current Affairs

“I wanted the whole set”: Pembroke professor jailed for child pornography

Former Pembroke philosophy professor Peter J King has been sentenced to seven months in jail, and given a sexual harm prevention order to last ten years.

King was dismissed from Pembroke College on 19 February following reporting by The Oxford Blue that revealed he had a scheduled court date on charges of child pornography.

The former tutor compared himself to “someone who starts a sticker collection and wants the whole set” of the images, a court heard. Girls as young as five were pictured in the indecent images found on his computer, images that King claimed to have been using for “research purposes”.

In 2008, King published a paper, as revealed by The Oxford Blue, in which he claimed there was a “possibility of a morally acceptable form of child pornography”.

Presiding Judge Maria Lamb said two interviews with police in 2018 and 2019 appeared to show King had accepted his guilt “rather late”.

Prosecutors said that, despite being having been cautioned after indecent search terms, King continued to download thousands of indecent images in a “repeated pattern of behaviour”. Police also discovered that he had visited a Russian file-sharing website.

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: “Almost 3,000 indecent images of children and more than 300 prohibited images were found on his computer.

CPS said: “Peter King was found to have accessed a number of websites known for sharing indecent images of children.”

King, who taught at Oxford University’s Pembroke College had previously been cautioned by police for looking up search terms like ‘schoolgirl’ on his computer.

CPS also said that ‘Analysis of his computer and hard drives showed regular access to indecent sites and his search history included “schoolgirl”.’ 

Philosophy lecturer Peter J King, 63, taught at several Oxford colleges from the 1980s until last month.

He will be subject to the sexual harm prevention order for 10 years. The conditions may include no contact with anyone younger than 18 years old, and no access to parks or other areas where children may be.

He was found guilty of possessing over 3,000 indecent images of children, some as young as five years old.

Paula Appiah from the Crown Protection Service said, “King held an esteemed position at a prestigious university, but his actions fell short of the law.”

“The law is in place to protect young children and we are dedicated to bringing perpetrators of this crime to justice.”