Ex-Labour staffer spared jail over child exploitation pictures

Tom Dewey’s now former party colleagues continue to deny any knowledge of his collecting illegal and ‘sadistic’ images that dated back to 2008

Tom Dewey, the former borough organiser for the Labour Party in Croydon, has avoided spending time in jail after pleading guilty to a range of serious charges including possession of and creating sexual and “sadistic” images of children.

‘Sadistic’: Tom Dewey had been downloading the images since 2008

A National Crime Agency investigation found Dewey had been downloading “extreme pornographic images involving violence” as well as images of “sex with animals”, and more than 1,500 images “involving the sexual abuse of children” over a 14-year period, since at least 2008 – which was six years before he started working for Croydon Labour.

The Labour Party assigned Dewey to Croydon in May 2014, where he was to work on the campaign to get Sarah Jones elected as MP. But Dewey left his Croydon job abruptly in December 2014 – with no party officials prepared to give a reason for his sudden departure.

In May last year, Dewey was elected as a Labour councillor in Hackney – a week after he had been arrested by officers from the National Crime Agency. The Labour Party claims it was unaware of the arrest and serious criminal allegations against its candidate. At the time of his arrest, Dewey was house-sharing with the Labour Mayor of Hackney, Phil Glanville.

In a court hearing last month, Dewey admitted a charge of making five Category A indecent images of children on April 29, 2022, a further charge of making four Category B indecent images on the same date, as well as making 203 Category C indecent images of children on the same date.

Labour candidate: Tom Dewey, right, at the Hackney election count a week after he was arrested by the NCA. Next to him is his fellow Labour candidate, Polly Billington

Dewey also admitted a charge of possessing 78 extreme pornographic images of children on April 29, 2022, and having 1,523 prohibited images of children in his possession on or before January 20, 2022.

Dewey, 36, was caught by the National Crime Agency after he uploaded some of the illegal images to an online storage platform.

He was arrested at Hertford Road on April 29 last year but a week later went on to be elected for Labour to sit on Hackney council. The Labour Party took no action to disassociate itself with Dewey before the election.

The arrest occurred too late for Labour to nominate an alternative candidate in the local elections, meaning that if they had withdrawn Dewey, they will have lost one of the 50 seats that the party holds on the 57-seat Hackney council.

Dewey resigned as a councillor on May 16, prompting a ward by-election, which thereby allowed Labour to retain the council seat.

At Wood Green Crown Court this morning, Dewey was given a sentence of 12 months in prison, suspended for two years, with 150 hours of community service and 40 days in rehab.

The maximum sentence for crimes such as those committed by Dewey is five years.

Judge: Jonathan Ashley-Norman KC

Dewey was also ordered to forfeit his devices, told to pay £500 costs and put on a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order, which will restrict his contact with children.

Recorder Jonathan Ashley-Norman KC said Dewey had “taken commendable steps since your arrest to demonstrate your efforts to address your offending behaviour”.

The judge said, “Your actions have had a devastating impact on your life, and on the lives of your closest family.

“I recognise the steps you have taken in order to turn your life around.”

Prosecutor Margia Mostafa told the court: “On April 29, 2022, NCA officers received four cyber tipline reports identifying the user of an online Google account.

“The user had uploaded indecent prohibited images of children to his online storage.”

NCA officers went to the home Dewey shared with Mayor Glanville and seized two laptops, two tablets and a hard drive containing 249 indecent images of children, including five in the most serious category involving sadistic abuse. The court was told that the defendant accepted that all the devices were his.

Mayor Glanville has said that he had no idea about Dewey’s arrest, nor the nature of the investigation, until after the local elections, when he says he was told by the council.

“I have not seen or spoken to Mr Dewey since I became aware of the investigation,” Glanville said last month. It is unclear how long Dewey remained living in Glanviille’s house after the arrest.

As well as having worked as a Labour organiser in Croydon, Dewey had also worked in the office of Meg Hillier, the Hackney MP. Described by local party activists as “ambitious”, Dewey worked at Hackney Council for nearly two years as a support officer for the Mayor and Cabinet office, as well as for a consultancy advising on planning.

He was also the Labour branch secretary for the De Beauvoir ward.

Hackney Labour members have described the party’s silence as a “cynical and sickening cover-up”, some saying that they campaigned in the resulting De Beauvoir ward by-election last July without ever being told by party officials the reasons for Dewey’s abrupt resignation.

Safeguarding: Phil Glanville at the Hackney election count last year

At a Hackney Council meeting last month, when questioned by opposition councillors over the prolonged silence on the Dewey case, Glanville said, “No action that I have ever taken as mayor has ever put the safeguarding of anyone, in this council or in our community or beyond, at risk. That’s all I am going to say on the matter.”

As part of the investigation, the police found that Dewey had also downloaded 78 extreme pornographic images involving violence and graphic injuries as well as sex with animals, and 1,523 CGI and cartoon images involving the sexual abuse of children.

The court heard the images had been downloaded over a 14-year period, beginning from 2008, with the last ones being saved two days before his arrest.

Full details of the abuse pictures were not revealed in court, but Mostafa told the judge he could read a report which detailed “sadism”, “penetration”, and the ages of the children involved.

A report also concluded that Dewey posed a “medium risk to teenage boys”.

Grassroots Labour Party members in Hackney claim that they have been stopped from asking questions about the serious safeguarding issues which the Dewey case has raised, with those requesting such information warned that they would be reported to Labour’s London region.

In court today, Dewey’s lawyer, Rhiannon Sadler, said that her client had had “difficult conversations” with his employer and the Labour Party, as well as with his family.

Claiming that her client had been “pro-active”, Sadler said that Dewey had taken the steps to remedy his behaviour “post-police involvement”.

She said, “Despite knowing it was going to destroy his life, which some people may say it should, he has continued to do what’s right in the sense of informing those he should.”

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1 Response to Ex-Labour staffer spared jail over child exploitation pictures

  1. Ian Kierans says:

    Very interesting article. Raises lots of obvious questions, and perhaps some not so obvious. With the obvious answers not given, by Labour or anyone else involved.

    What a marvelous environment that we inhabit and vote for!

    We should be grateful that our courts manage what they can in all this murk.

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