Stevenage paedophile given harsher sentence after Solicitor General intervenes

PUBLISHED: 10:17 18 September 2020 | UPDATED: 10:17 18 September 2020

Robert Woolner was initially sentenced to 12 months in prison at St Albans Crown Court. Picture: DANNY LOO

Robert Woolner was initially sentenced to 12 months in prison at St Albans Crown Court. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2019 Archant

A school bus driver from Stevenage has been found guilty of attempting to arrange a child sex offence, and will face a longer jail term than initially sentenced following intervention from the Solicitor General.

Robert Woolner, who took photos of young girls leaving his bus, was arrested after he was caught communicating and discussing sex with a person he believed was a 13-year-old boy.

The boy was, in fact, an undercover police officer and Woolner – who was 54 at the time – was arrested in the place where they had arranged to meet.

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Police then found extreme pornographic content on Woolner’s phone, as well as three videos, made during the course of his employment as a school bus driver, showing under the skirts of school girls as they left the school bus.

On July 17, Woolner was originally sentenced at St Albans Crown Court to 12 months’ imprisonment for attempting to arrange or facilitate a child sex offence, possessing extreme pornographic images, and multiple counts of recording an image under clothing.

Following intervention from Solicitor General, Rt Hon Michael Ellis QC MP under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme, the Court of Appeal increased his sentence to two years six months’ imprisonment yesterday.

Commenting on the increase, the Solicitor General said: “The offender was caught trying to sexually exploit a vulnerable child, as well as taking advantage of young school children.

“It is therefore important that his sentence truly reflects the gravity of his crimes, and I am pleased that the judge has agreed to increase the offender’s sentence.”

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