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Police officer who admitted indecent child image charges granted bail

Lee Bartram was ordered to be freed from prison after a court was told prosecutors wrongly claimed he filmed a teenager sunbathing while on bail.

Inspector Lee Bartram (West Midlands Police/PA)
Inspector Lee Bartram (West Midlands Police/PA)

A police inspector who admitted making or distributing more than 300 indecent images of children, including a film of a six-year-old boy, has been granted bail by a Crown Court judge.

Lee Bartram was ordered to be freed from prison after a court was told prosecutors had wrongly claimed he had filmed a teenager sunbathing while on police bail earlier this week.

A judge sitting at Wolverhampton Crown Court also lifted a court order banning publication of the suspended West Midlands Police officer’s home address.

There has to be a good reason to make an order prohibiting open reporting Judge Burbidge

Bartram’s address was ordered to be withheld at Walsall Magistrates’ Court on Thursday over terrorism fears, after the 44-year-old pleaded guilty to five counts of making indecent images of a child and two counts of distributing similar images.

The charges, spanning a period between August 2013 and the same month of this year, relate to a total of 328 images, including some found on an iPad and an iPhone.

Judge James Burbidge QC was told that Bartram, of Bustleholme Lane, West Bromwich, filmed a teenage boy sunbathing last year, while recording a commentary expressing sexual desire.

A district judge had ordered that Bartram’s address should not be published as it could lead to the Birmingham-based officer or his family being “targeted by terrorists for the most serious acts of violence”.

But Judge Burbidge opted to lift the reporting restriction on Friday, rejecting a joint application by prosecution and defence counsel to keep Bartram’s address secret.

West Midlands Police Assistant Chief Constable Gareth Cann submitted a letter to the court asking the judge to take into consideration the current “severe” terror threat rating.

Mr Cann’s letter stated: “Should you feel able to direct that an address can be withheld, taking into account all the circumstances of the case before you, then you would be making a valuable contribution to mitigating the current threat we face.”

Lifting the order following an application by the Press Association, Judge Burbidge told the court: “I do not believe there is an objective and well founded, heightened risk to his life as a result of these proceedings and him being a police officer.

“There has to be a good reason to make an order prohibiting open reporting.”

After imposing conditional bail, which bans Bartram from using the internet, the judge added: “The fact that I grant him bail should not inform any subsequent judge as to what sentence should be passed.”

Bartram, who has not worked as a counter-terror officer, is due to be sentenced on September 13.

Press Association

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