One-time East Cambs school caretaker and professional balloon artist avoids jail after admitting possession of 500 incident images of children

Samuel Stamp-Dod has avoided jail Picture: ARCHANT

Samuel Stamp-Dod has avoided jail Picture: ARCHANT

A professional balloon artist and one-time East Cambs school caretaker who handed himself in to police after hoarding hundreds of indecent images of children has avoided jail.

Ipswich Crown Court heard how the former girlfriend of Samuel Stamp-Dod, 46, woke around 4.30am on January 5, 2019, and went downstairs to get a glass of water.

She decided to play solitaire on Stamp-Dod’s tablet but when she opened the device, she saw an indecent image of a 10-year-old girl.

She then discovered several similar indecent images on the device, said prosecutors.

The former girlfriend left but later urged Stamp-Dod to turn himself in, the court heard.

Stamp-Dod, who ran VIP Balloons, then went to Ipswich police station and handed them his phone.

Checks revealed 216 indecent images of the most serious kind - category A - along with 304 classed at category B and 1,030 category C.

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Stamp-Dod, of Hayhill Road, Ipswich, previously pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children and one count of having an extreme pornographic image.

David Stewart, defending, said Stamp-Dod had already engaged with a child protection charity.

“He makes no attempt to minimise or justify his actions,” Mr Stewart said.

Sentencing Stamp-Dod on Friday, Judge Emma Peters said that those who view indecent images fuel child abuse.

“This is why you should hang your head in shame,” the judge said.

“It has an enormous and devastating impact on the lives of children.”

Judge Peters jailed Stamp-Dod for eight months, suspended for two years and up to 60 rehabilitation activity days.

Stamp-Dod must also sign the sex offenders’ register for ten years and was made subject to a ten-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).

Stamp-Dod was well known in Isleham where he was a school caretaker and helped to organise village events.

He also helped with a junior drama groups and ran after school clubs.

A report in the Isleham village newsletter of 2005 announced the opening of Stamp-Dod’s balloon business.

“Many of you will know Samuel Stamp-Dod as the school caretaker, but before he moved to Isleham he worked at the Grafton Centre in Cambridge and Strikes Bowl Multiplex in Ely using his talents in balloon artistry decorating their centres for them.

“After gaining certification from the National Association of Balloon Artists and Suppliers (NABAS) he has set up “Creative Balloons”.

“As well as party and wedding displays, they also offer helium filled foil balloons, balloon animals, balloons on bangles (ideal going home presents for children’s parties), face painting and partyware.”