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A Norwich sex offender took photos of girls at sporting events

By April 28, 2022April 30th, 2022Sports events

4:43 PM April 28, 2022

13:44 29 April 2022

A Norfolk runner who has admitted indecent image offenses has taken close-up photos of girls wearing tight shorts at running and gym events.

David Murrell, 46, a former member of a Norwich-based running club, uploaded hundreds of indecent images of children.

Norwich Crown Court heard and uploaded footage to the internet Murrell also took pictures of children himself at running and gymnastics events.

Norwich Crown Court
– Credit: Archant

Chris Youell, prosecuting, said photos taken by the defendant of real girls at running events in June and August 2019 included girls wearing “tight running shorts and sports bras”.

Murrell also took photos of girls at gymnastics events in December 2019 with the images showing “close-ups of the genital areas.”

The court heard photos of the children were found in a ‘hidden’ folder on her phone that was part of a secret app that needed a PIN to access it.

Mr Youell said Murrell was arrested by police after an indecent Category B image of a child uploaded by the defendant led officers to execute a search warrant at his home in July 2020.

Devices including a cell phone and a hard drive were recovered and searched and found to contain indecent images of children.

He was found to have uploaded and taken indecent images of children over a three-year period between 2017 and 2020.

Some of the images were category A, the most severe, but there were also category B and C images found.

These included 501 category C images, of which 424 were downloaded from the internet and 77 taken by the defendant, some of which were duplicates.

Police also recovered conversations the accused had with other people online, including one where he discussed “child sexual abuse”.

Mr Youell said: “There was clearly something deep in his life where he fantasized about young children and young girls.

“He was talking about it on the internet, taking pictures and uploading pictures.”

Murrell, of Camperdown in Great Yarmouth, appeared in court on Thursday April 28 after admitting three counts of making an indecent image of a child and one count of distributing an indecent image of a child.

He also pleaded guilty to six counts of taking indecent photos of a child.

The mother of one of the children who had their photo taken read a victim impact statement in which she described the police knock on the door.

She said it was something she would “never forget” and felt “like her world had stopped”.

The woman said, “It’s something I don’t really think I’ll get over.”

She also described in court the “confusion” and “sheer terror” as well as the “disbelief and disgust” she felt.

The woman added that she lay awake at night ‘worrying about what might have happened if he hadn’t been caught’.

The father of another victim in the case described ‘dismay’ at what happened and he felt and hoped Murrell would get the help he needed.

Damien Moore, mitigating, said nothing he could say could ‘undo the damage Mr Murrell did’.

Mr Moore said Murrell wanted to apologize to the parents of the children involved and to the children themselves.

He said the defendant was ‘a completely broken man’ who had ‘lost everything’ and was going to have to live the rest of his life with ‘shame and embarrassment’ from the offenses he had committed.

Mr Moore said Murrell was ‘at rock bottom’ after going down a ‘self-destructive path’ and needed help and rehabilitation.

He said the defendant “knows he needed to be punished and was ready for it”, but urged the court to consider a non-custodial sentence.

Judge Katharine Moore adjourned sentencing until Wednesday, May 4, but warned Murrell that “the threshold for detention had been crossed by a country mile.”

Katharine Moore, newly appointed criminal judge, the first female permanent criminal judge

Judge Katharine Moore
– Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

Judge Moore took him into custody until next week due to concerns about his welfare.

It is understood Murrell was a member of the Norfolk Gazelles racing club, but was no longer entitled to be a member when the allegations emerged.