Former MP from Worlingworth faces jail for child abuse video
A former shadow minister from Worlingworth has admitted possessing indecent videos of children, with one showing a baby being abused.
Former Labour MP Eric Joyce, who served as Shadow Minister of State for Northern Ireland in 2010, is facing jail time after admitting one charge of making an indecent image of a child.
The 59-year-old, who was MP for Falkirk in Scotland between 2000 and 2012, ran Extractive Industries out of Barton Grange, Worlingworth, from 2015 to 2018, before the company was dissolved.
The father-of-two pleaded guilty to possessing a 51-second film, which Judge Emma Peters said was “clearly a category A movie” – the most severe category for an indecent image of a child – adding that it “depicts a number of children – some are quite young, one is said to be 12 months old”.
She said Joyce, who appeared at Ipswich Crown Court in person, claimed he had accessed the film via a spam email.
“At the time, he was drinking heavily and he has now undergone work with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation and a psychotherapist,” the judge said.
Joyce, who spent 21 years in the Army, rising to the rank of major, left Labour to serve as independent MP for Falkirk in 2012, eventually stepping down before the 2015 general election.
In 2012, he was fined £3,000 and given a three-month pub ban following a brawl in which he assaulted four fellow politicians in a House of Commons bar.
At this week’s hearing, Judge Peters ordered that a pre-sentence report be prepared, adding that the offence crossed the custody threshold.
“It’s going to be a question of whether it’s immediate or suspended,” she told Joyce.
“You will be required to sign paperwork today acknowledging that you are immediately on the sex offenders’ register.”
She added the court “takes such incidents very seriously” as they “fuel the abuse of children”.
Joyce was granted bail until August 7, when he will be sentenced.
A statement published on his website last month, after details of the charge emerged, said: “I will make no comment from now until all legal processes are at a close. At that point, I will make a full statement.”