A JOURNALIST from Essex has been sentenced for viewing child abuse material following an investigation. 

Peter Wilby, 78, who previously worked as the editor of the Independent and later, the New Statesman, was arrested by the National Crime Agency in October 2022.

Investigators identified that he had been accessing the material online from his home in Essex.

His computer was seized for analysis and found to contain 167 indecent images of children (IIOC) in categories A-C.

In interview, Wilby admitted having a sexual interest in children and that he had been viewing abuse material since the 90s.

He was charged with three counts of making IIOC to which he later pleaded guilty.

Wilby was sentenced today at Chelmsford Crown Court to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years. He is also required to undertake 40 hours rehabilitation, is subject to a 10-year sexual harm prevention order and was placed on the sex offenders register for five years.

Adam Sprague, operations manager at the National Crime Agency, said: “The material accessed by Wilby and recovered from his computer showed real children being cruelly and sexually abused.

“He was viewing this content while working as the editor of prominent national news outlets, a role in which he was entrusted to form the news agenda for the British public. A trust which he has greatly betrayed.

“While there is a global demand for this material, children will continue to be abused. The NCA is committed to tackling child sexual abuse in all its forms, to disrupt offenders and protect children."