Friend 'found child abuse images in emails'

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A computer engineer was looking through a friend's emails for potential business opportunities when he stumbled across "disturbing" images of child abuse, a court heard today.

Noman Ahmed told Bristol Crown Court he had no idea Colin Blanchard, his friend of 10 years, was interested in children until he discovered the "shocking" pictures.



Mr Ahmed, aware that Blanchard had plans to set up a children's charity, became concerned and reported him to the police, the court heard.



Mr Ahmed was giving evidence at the trial of Tracy Dawber, Blanchard's former girlfriend, who was arrested following a police investigation.



Forensic searches of Blanchard's computer equipment led police to Dawber, from Southport, Merseyside.



The grandmother-of-two is accused of sexually assaulting a five-month-old baby and allowing Blanchard to take photographs on his mobile phone.



Dawber, 43, faces one count of sexually assaulting a child and five counts of permitting indecent photographs of a child to be taken. She accepts she is in the photographs but denies all charges.



The jury was told Blanchard has previously pleaded guilty to taking the photos.



Examining the witness, prosecutor Simon Morgan said Mr Ahmed met Blanchard in 1999, and the pair met socially and for business over the course of the following decade.



In June 2009, Blanchard had been using a computer at Mr Ahmed's business premises at Trafford Park, in Manchester, the court heard.



While Blanchard was out of the office, Mr Ahmed discovered he had not logged out of his googlemail account.



Mr Morgan said: "You closed the account at that stage but later that day you went back into the email because you thought it might be an advantage to know what he was doing, being in the same business as you."



Mr Ahmed replied: "Yes, that's correct."



Mr Morgan went on: "Is it fair to say you found various attachments which you found disturbing?"



Mr Ahmed said: "That's right."



Cross-examining Mr Ahmed, defending counsel Deborah Gould said: "When you did find the material you were completely and utterly shocked."



Mr Ahmed said: "That's correct."



Mr Ahmed told the court he could see that Blanchard had been sending the images on using his iPhone.



Ms Gould later asked: "Is it correct that Mr Blanchard also was potentially about to be involved in a children's charity?"



Mr Ahmed said: "That's right."



Yesterday the court heard that Dawber and Blanchard were in a relationship for about a year, ending in September 2008.



The jury heard that Dawber met Blanchard either through social networking website Facebook or dating website Plenty of Fish.



Mr Morgan told the jury that, following a search of Blanchard's property in Rochdale in June 2009, a Hewlett Packard laptop computer was recovered.



He said: "It revealed correspondence between Colin Blanchard and Tracy Dawber, that related to a Facebook account.



"That same day, Mr Blanchard was arrested at Manchester Airport."



He told the jury that, on June 11 2009, a Nokia mobile phone was recovered from Blanchard's Volvo and indecent images of children were discovered.



Mr Morgan said 10 images were "of interest" to the police.



The first three showed Blanchard in his vehicle, the next five showed images of a young child, and the final two were of Dawber and Blanchard together.



Dawber was arrested on November 17 2009 and immediately denied ever touching a child, the jury heard.