Man ‘looking for Madeleine McCann’ in child abuse images guilty of thought crimes
The Mirror introduces us to “Vile David Brinkman” who says he’s no paedophile and possessed 694 indecent pictures and 88 video clips of children being abused for research purposes.
The paper adds that the “sick pensioner” was looking for Madeleine McCann. He was on a “crusade” to find Madeleine.
At Aberdeen Sheriff Court Brinkman’s lawyer claims:
“He has been on this one man crusade as he is perfectly satisfied that Madeleine McCann was removed from the property in 2007 and has found her way into a paedophile ring. As a result of that he got himself immersed in looking at child pornography.”
His lawyer added that Brinkman had only exchanged abuse images with paedophiles to carry on his search.
It’s an intriguing and, so far, unique defence. Once upon a time, anyone finding missing Madeleine McCann was in line for a £2.5m reward. The Met Police are offering up to £20,000 “for information leading to the identification, arrest and prosecution of the person(s) responsible for the abduction of Madeleine McCann from Praia da Luz Portugal on the 3rd May 2003.”
So. You were looking to help conclude the biggest story of the Century.
But this defence failed. Sheriff Napier tells Brinkman:
“You’re not an obvious and immediate risk to members of the public. But that does not mean that there could not be the possibility of a custodial sentence.”
Brinkman is out on bail. So. you can assess his risk to society for yourselves. He will be sentenced next month.
As for the crime, well, it’s the dowloading and possessing part that is odd. It is indeed a sickness to get sexually aroused by children and rape (we can agree on that, right?), but we don’t know that he was. And if he was, is Brinkman’s crime is one of thought. Yes, children are being abused in such images. But would we think any better of Brinkman if the images he collects were of cartoons or virtual reality children? I think not. What’s on trial is Mr Brinkman’s mind. And we can never be entirely sure what’s going on there.
Our minds turn to Pete Townshend, The Who guitarist arrested in 2003 on suspicion of using child pornography.
Townshend created the Double-O for victims of sexual and domestic abuse. He had heard from victims of abuse.
Will Hodgkinson writes in the Times:
Townshend wanted to demonstrate that child abuse and the pornography that goes with it involved a financial chain that ran all the way from Russian orphanages to British banks. So in 1999 he paid a $7 charge on a site that carried a button labelled “click here for child porn”. Then he cancelled it. When police tracked Townshend’s name and confiscated his computers and files they found nothing incriminating. His main concern was that his diaries, with their standard rock star woes about which car or boat he should buy next, would make him look like “a self-obsessed prat”. As it turned out, that was the least of his worries.
He didn’t downloaded. But did he look? Did he download onto his mind?
In saving the children, the police ruined the adult. Townshend said:
“It’s white knight syndrome. You want to be the one that’s seen to be helping…”
Townshend could have gone to court and explained his innocence. It could have all been cleared up years ago. I put this to him. After a very long pause, rubbing his head as if protecting it from a black cloud of despair, he says: “You know … I think I was exhausted. The police at Kingston station gave me half an hour to make a decision about whether to go to court or not. My lawyers were as surprised as I was, because everyone thought I would be let off. And I thought that if I went to court they would f***ing rip me apart. They’ll just rip me apart.”
And the media:
The story went public anyway, which was worse. “If I’d had a gun I would have shot myself, just to escape the lynching,” he writes in Who I Am. Was he really suicidal? “Only for a moment. It was fine until I looked out of the window and saw four satellite vans outside. A journalist came to the door and I told him: ‘I’m f***ed.’ He said: ‘Nah, you’ll be all right.’ ‘How?’ It was the subject of the day and it really did feel like a lynching, because there was no sense of ‘the truth will out’…
Townshend was cautioned and placed on the sex offenders register for five years after he admitted breaking the law.
But what was his crime? Looking?