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Edulis Nursery owner Paul Barney from Ashampstead sentenced for extreme bestiality videos

A WELL known horticulturalist has been sentenced for possessing “grotesque” bestiality porn.

Paul Barney was arrested by National Crime Agency (NCA) officers investigating a child sex images racket in the Philippines.

Paul Barney pictured in 2005
Paul Barney pictured in 2005

The 64-year-old father of two runs Edulis Nursery, which has grown exhibits for the Chelsea Flower Show and whose customers include Buckingham Palace.

He made international headlines in 1994 as the sole British survivor of the Estonia ferry disaster in which almost 900 people died.

At a previous court hearing last August Barney, of Flowers Piece, Ashampstead, admitted possessing 14 extreme pornographic videos, which portrayed a person performing an act of intercourse with a live animal, on October 20, 2021.

At a sentencing hearing at Reading Crown Court on Friday, January 26, prosecutor Damian Warburton said: “NCA officers arrested the defendant following a link having been made between him and a person in the Philippines connected to the supply of indecent images of children.”

Electronic devices were seized and examined and Mr Warburton added: “It’s germane to this sentencing process principally because a number of devices were recovered which had indecent images of children on them.

“But Your Honour will note no charges arise from such images being found.”

Nicholas Wragg, defending, pointed out that his client had no previous convictions.

He said Barney had accessed the bestiality videos before 2008, before such material became illegal, but forgot to get rid of them.

The prosecution has accepted it can not prove otherwise, but Mr Warburton told the court: “There’s evidence of an ongoing interest in this kind of material – in 2011 a bookmark to ‘Animal Sex Tube’ was created.”

There were also more recent searches for sites titled ‘Bestiality Live’, the court heard.

Mr Wragg said that, regarding the indecent images of children, they were nothing to do with his client, who had implicated an employee.

Nevertheless, he conceded, the bestiality videos themselves were “grotesque”.

In the UK, the Criminal Justice Act 1988 already dealt with the possession of indecent images involving children.

The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 was introduced to cover possession of extreme pornographic images.

Judge Hassan Khan told Barney: “Images of children were found on devices which were yours but it seems the crown did not pursue a case against you because it couldn’t link those images to you – it failed the evidentiary test, I’m told.”

Concerning the videos which Barney admitted were his, Judge Khan said: “You became obsessed with these images before they became illegal in 2008.”

There was no evidence he had accessed them after that date, added Judge Khan, who went on: “I’m going to sentence you on the basis of what you say, and which the crown can not gainsay.”

Barney was made subject to a two year community order with a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 35 days.

In addition he was ordered to pay £425 costs plus a statutory victim services surcharge.

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