Ministry of Defence employee charged in child pornography case

The charges stem from his participation in the “PedoPub” web forum.

A former UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) employee has been jailed for 16 months after being found guilty of storing and sharing child pornography. 

The UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) said that Bristol resident Phillip Nutt appeared in front of a judge at Bristol Crown Court on June 24. Nutt had previously pleaded guilty to possessing, making, and distributing indecent images. 

According to the NCA, Nutt was a formed MoD employee who "used his IT skills to source and download child abuse images on the Dark Web."

Nutt was arrested by the NCA at his holiday home in Cornwall in 2020. During the raid, the police discovered close to 300 images and videos on his personal phone and computers. 

However, the 53-year-old managed a far more extensive collection stored in overseas and cloud-based accounts. 

With the assistance of international law enforcement agencies, the NCA discovered 445 online folders containing 18,641 files, including indecent images and "hundreds" of child pornography videos. Some of the videos documented abuse lasted for up to two hours. 

The former MoD employee disguised his mobile collection in a lockbox app disguised as a calculator. However, he also frequented a forum in the Dark Web where he discussed his activities, dubbed the "PedoPub."

"I have everything secured and no one can see unless I leave it unlocked by accident," Nutt told a fellow chat room user. "I have a false camera storage as well so if someone asks to see my photos it shows normal people photos. The good ones are hidden."

Nutt also vented his frustration at the UK's lockdown policies, which at its peaks have kept children except those of key workers or the vulnerable, from going to school physically -- therefore restricting his access to children. 

"The conviction of Nutt serves as a warning to all -- that we will work with partners across the globe to safeguard children and bring offenders before the court," commented Derek Evans, NCA Senior Investigating Officer. "For as long as the demand for this material remains in depraved people like Nutt, it will continue to be supplied. This investigation has broken part of that cycle and the NCA has succeeded in disrupting someone who posed a significant threat to children."

ZDNet has reached out to the MoD for comment and we will update when we hear back. 

Previous and related coverage


Have a tip? Get in touch securely via WhatsApp | Signal at +447713 025 499, or over at Keybase: charlie0