Baldock church child porn investigation: 'I was absolutely appalled when I heard the computer hard drive had been destroyed', says former St Mary's warden

PUBLISHED: 14:59 02 February 2017

Former Herts police chief inspector Mick Camp, who was a churchwarden at St Mary's.

Former Herts police chief inspector Mick Camp, who was a churchwarden at St Mary's.

Daniel Wilson

As the police and the Diocese of St Albans investigate allegations that a vicar smashed up a computer hard drive which contained material relating to child porn, a former churchwarden has told the Comet he knew there had been a cover-up.

Rev Andrew Holford of St Mary's Church in Baldock.Rev Andrew Holford of St Mary's Church in Baldock.

As the police and the Diocese of St Albans investigate allegations that a vicar smashed up a computer hard drive which contained material relating to child porn, a former churchwarden has told the Comet he knew there had been a cover-up.

Last week, we reported how Rev Andrew Holford, from the church of St Mary the Virgin in Baldock, had destroyed his church’s computer hard drive – which reportedly contained a history of child sex abuse websites visited – to protect a member of his congregation.

Rev Holford maintains that the pornographic images were of adults, but that at the time of their discovery six years ago he followed the Diocese of St Albans’ child protection procedures.

Several sources – including two former churchwardens – have told the Comet the material concerned children, and the matter was brought up at Baldock Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Association meeting in January.

One former churchwarden, who asked not to be named, said he was told about the cover-up two years ago by several people at the centre of the church.

He said: “No adult porn was mentioned – only child porn.

“I was absolutely appalled when I heard Andrew had destroyed the hard drive.

“Mick Camp tried to get the matter referred to the police and was overruled by those more concerned about the reputation of the church than the safety of the children who go there.”

Mr Camp – a former chief inspector at Herts police and churchwarden at the time – says he didn’t go to the police because ‘his ability to deal with the matter was hampered by others in that church’. He left the congregation.

Rev Holford says he knows who was responsible for the indecent images – which he says were of adults – and says that they are still in the congregation and can still access the church computer.

A Herts police spokesman said: “Enquiries are still ongoing, however at this stage no evidence of child pornography has been uncovered.”

A spokesman for the diocese said: “It’s a complex and historic situation. We are looking into it and want our investigation to be thorough. We will publish our findings.”

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