UK & World News
Ronnie Barker's Son Jailed For Indecent Images
Comedian Ronnie Barker's son has been given a 12-month jail sentence after he admitted child pornography charges.
Adam Barker, 44, of no fixed abode, skipped bail and fled to Hungary after police raided his home in June 2003 as part of a huge countrywide clampdown on child pornography.
The operation was undertaken in conjunction with the FBI which had provided details of people using credit cards to download offending images.
When officers arrived at Barker's then home in Ealing, he was asked if he had any child pornography and admitted there "were some things on the computer" and when told they would take it away he replied it would be a "dereliction of duty" if they did not.
Initially he was given bail, as police graded the 1,675 images and videos that they found, the majority showing pre-teen boys. He had been due to report back to police in June 2004.
Instead he escaped to Hungary where he lived in Budapest, in what his defence lawyer, Simon Ray, told Isleworth Crown Court was a "self imposed exile".
During this time his father Ronnie, best known for his portray of jailbird Fletch in the long-running comedy series Porridge, died as did his mother, Joy, and there was no contact between him and any of his surviving family. He missed both of their funerals.
The comedy actor, also famous for The Two Ronnies and Open All Hours, never spoke publicly about his youngest child's disappearance, although the court heard how Barker had written a letter to his parents before fleeing the country.
In it he said he was "sorry for being foolish" and he thanked them for being "great parents".
But he added he had to "go away" and would not be contacting them "for quite some time".
Prosecutor Ravinder Johal told the court that Barker had returned to Britain in July of this year, as he had run out of money. He surrendered himself to police.
He was charged him with 20 counts of making indecent images of children and appeared in court last month, pleading guilty to obtaining the images between January 1999 and June 2003.
Sentencing Barker, Judge Rosa Dean said he would have been jailed for 18 months but took into account his guilty plea and previous good character.
She also relied on a pre-sentence report which ruled that Barker was classed a medium risk of sexual offending again and a low risk of using violence.
Barker was told that he would be placed on the sex offenders register and that he would be banned from working with children and his use of the internet would also be strictly controlled.