Sunday 3 March 2024
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Nottinghamshire child sex offender called police to confess

A sex offender phoned the police to confess to years of abuse against two young girls – minutes after denying the offences in a formal interview.

John Morrell, aged 73, was arrested by Nottinghamshire Police after one of his victims told a school friend about his offending.

Police were informed by a teacher and a criminal investigation was started by specialist child abuse detectives.

Morrell repeatedly abused the girls over several years and was finally arrested in March 2021.

At his initial police interview at Mansfield Police Station he denied all the allegations against him and suggested they were being made up.

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Shortly after the interview had finished he left a message with detectives asking them to call him back.

He then told them that the allegations were true and later admitted to multiple offences in a second interview.

A forensic examination of his personal computer also uncovered hundreds of child sexual abuse images – some of them depicting the most serious acts of abuse.

Further examination of his internet browsing history confirmed that he had a clear sexual interest in children.

Morrell later pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault and three counts of making an indecent image of a child. The indecent image offences relate to the storage of images on his computer.

Appearing at Nottingham Crown Court on Tuesday (6 June), Morrell, of Milner Street, Newark, was jailed for eight years and added to the sex offenders’ register for life.

He was also made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order that will closely restrict his future behaviour and access to children once he is released from prison.

Detective Constable Alan Braisby, of Nottinghamshire Police’s child abuse investigation unit, said: “Morrell was responsible for an appalling catalogue of abuse over a sustained period of time.

“When this abuse started his victims were simply too young to understand what was happening to them. As they got older they realised that what had happened was wrong and the truth was revealed.

“Nothing is more important to us than the safety of children, so when cases like are reported to us we will take them seriously, we will follow the evidence and we will do whatever it takes to bring offenders to justice.”

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