Edward George Middleton outside court. He has been urged to get rehab after avoiding being sent to jail.
Edward George Middleton outside court. He has been urged to get rehab after avoiding being sent to jail. DARREN ENGLAND/AAP

From cop to criminal: PTSD blamed in child porn case

A VETERAN of the emergency services says seeing a dead baby was among traumas that eventually led him to view child abuse images.

As a police officer, Edward George Middleton investigated disturbing crimes including sexual offences against children.

Decades later, he became a criminal, complicit in what a judge called the "ongoing horrendous sexual exploitation of children."

Middleton's long career with emergency services ended in 2016 after Task Force Argos police found 114 pictures on his laptop.

On Thursday, Brisbane District Court heard Middleton had post-traumatic stress disorder, stemming from workplace horrors experienced as early as the 1980s.

He saw the dead baby after a car crash.

Middleton worked for police, then ambulance, then fire services, in places including Toowoomba, Rockhampton, and Gladstone.

Now 60, he left the fire service after the illegal images were found.

The court heard some pictures were so offensive, the Crown took the rare step of not showing them to the judge.

Middleton had since taken 21 months of intensive therapy, and medication, for problems including PTSD.

The Crown said there was no dispute Middleton had PTSD but argued this did not greatly mitigate his offending.

But a psychologist said Middleton had no sexual interest in children, and posed no "predation" risk to the community.

Judge Tony Moynihan said there was evidence Middleton had "vicarious traumatisation" and impaired "social judgment" during the offending.

Middleton, a 2009 Australia Day Achievement Award recipient, was previously QFRS communications manager.

He used a peer-to-peer file sharing service, acquiring abuse images five times in 13 days, deleting them afterwards.

But Task Force Argos retrieved images, including prepubescent girls being abused, after a forensic examination.

Middleton made an early guilty plea to one charge of accessing "child pornography" material.

He had several supporters in court.

Some supplied positive references, saying Middleton had a good work history and was a committed friend.

Judge Moynihan said it was normal nowadays for jail time to follow this type of offending.

But Middleton had far fewer offensive images than the number in many other such court cases.

Middleton was sentenced to 18 months jail but released on two years probation, two years supervision, and told to pay a $3000 security. -NewsRegional


Why not give Richmond River Gun Club a shot?

Why not give Richmond River Gun Club a shot?

Member for Lismore Thomas George gives his column for the week

Generous Lismore businesses help Northern River's couple

Generous Lismore businesses help Northern River's couple

Lismore businesses help Casino couple

Local community helps women 'catch their dreams'

Local community helps women 'catch their dreams'

Local Indigenous women raise funds to travel to Cairns

Local Partners