British diplomat, convicted of smuggling child pornography

Jojo Moyes
Thursday 05 September 1996 23:02

A senior British diplomat, convicted of smuggling a large consignment of "vile and sickening" child pornography into Britain, may have been part of a network, according to customs investigators. Robert Coghlan, former First Secretary at the British Embassy in Tokyo was found guilty swiftly and unanimously yesterday and will be sentenced this morning by Judge Gerald Butler QC at Southwark Crown Court.

The divorced father-of-two was found guilty of one charge under the Customs and Excise Management Act, 1979, after his hoard of 109 videos, 70 of which contained paedophilic material, were discovered in Essex, en route to Madrid. "I believe the videos were destined for wherever he was going and whoever was in his network," said Jim McGregor, deputy chief investigator with Customs and Excise.

Coghlan, 54, who faces up to seven years in jail, showed almost no reaction as the verdict was returned after 52 minutes. Crown counsel Nigel Lithman told the court: "It would seem that in Japan ... he was something of a Jekyll and Hyde character - sometimes a respectable representative of the country, at other times visiting specialist sex shops, buying the most profane type of paedophile material, until he had accumulated this large collection." Jojo Moyes

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