Former LGBT Conservatives chair Matthew Sephton jailed for child abuse images

A former chair of the Conservative Party’s LGBT group has been found guilty of six charges relating to downloading and distributing child abuse images and extreme pornography.

Matthew Sephton, 42, was arrested in December 2016 when officers from the National Crime Agency raided his home in Altrincham, Cheshire.

Police found 31 indecent videos of children and 3,774 indecent still images of children on two iPhones and an Apple Mac computer, both of which belonged to him.

He was sentenced to two years and nine months behind bars last month.

Sephton, who worked as a primary school teacher, served as the chair of LGBTory for more than four years until he stepped down in 2014.

He also served as an elected councillor on Trafford Council and ran for Parliament as a Conservative Party candidate in 2015.

During the trial he claimed that an on-off partner known only known as ‘Tom’ had put the images on his computer.

Sephton claimed to have had an “ad-lib” relationship with the man, who he said he met on Canal Street in Manchester’s Gay Village.

He told the court did not know Tom’s surname or location and had been unable to find ‘Tom’ again after officers raided his flat.

Prosecutors described ‘Tom’ as a “mythical” figure who the defendant had “made up” to take the blame for what he had done.

The court was also told that he exchanged messages on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger with another councillor in which the pair discussed sexual interest in underage boys.

In one exchange, discussing a picture, Mr Sephton asked the other man: “How old is he?” The reply was: “About 14,” to which he said: “Yum – any younger?”

Sephton claimed all of the messages had been from ‘Tom’.

Sephton’s parents wept in court as the judge handed the ex-politician almost three years behind bars.

He was immediately suspended from the Conservative Party at the start of the trial but remained as a councillor, serving as an independent.

Judge Angela Nield ordered Sephton to sign the Sex Offender Register for life and told him: “Possession of images of a sexual nature of children strikes at the very root of morality and it is exploitation in the grossest form of the innocence of childhood.

“It is no doubt easy to assume that the young people appearing in these images are faceless and nameless but these children in whatever county they are in are somebody’s son and daughters.

“Their story is one that will probably never be told and we will never discover the impact of their exploitation, an exploitation that should never been inflicted upon them at that age.

“You were a teacher and you were a councillor. I had heard from your references that you are someone who did a great deal for your constituents.

“You supported the LGBT community in Manchester and further afield and I am sure that they were very grateful to you for all that you did.

“But sadly the fact that you have been in the public eye means of course the punishment that must follow will be very wide reaching.

“It is right you have lost you political career but more importantly your career – teaching as you did young children.

“Although your liberty will ultimately be restored, your good name will be lost forever. However the conviction and sentence as a punishment is self inflicted.”

Sephton’s defence counsel Silas Reid said: “He has had a massive and very public fall from grace – an impact he will have to bear following the publicity of this case.”