Otago philosophy student jailed for child pornography

Benjamin Whitcombe was convicted in court in Dunedin.

Hamish McNeilly / Stuff

Benjamin Whitcombe was convicted in court in Dunedin.

A student in Dunedin philosophy who was looking for "like-minded sick freaks & # 39; online, has been imprisoned in child pornography images first discovered by the Canadian authorities.

Benjamin John Whitcombe, 22, appeared for conviction on eight charges, including making an offensive publication, and importing and exporting an offensive publication.

Judge Kevin Phillips said there was a public interest in publishing Whitcombe's photo and name when he appeared in the Dunedin District Court on Wednesday afternoon.

A student was imprisoned after being accused of importing and exporting offensive material.


A student was imprisoned after being accused of importing and exporting offensive material.

The sexually explicit content – shared through message platforms – was "incredibly terrible".

The offensive was "disturbing and worrying, and raised the level of your crime".

A young man with his intelligence, education and background should not be involved in these kinds of offenses, said Judge Phillips.

"You wanted to be involved in child pornography."

The philosophy student at Otago University had been able to follow an academic course, but was instead charged with a period of imprisonment, said his lawyer Anne Stevens.

Whitcombe, who had a form of Asperger's syndrome, recognized that he had an addiction and started a guilty plea on the first occasion, she said.

Prosecutor Catherine Ure said the offense was serious.

Judge Phillips sentenced Whitcombe to a three-year prison sentence.

The case

The offender was exposed in December 2017 by the National Child Exploitation Coordination Center in Canada, informing the New Zealand authorities.

That report stated that the user & # 39; gumballmachinzz & # 39; published four offensive publications in which the sexual exploitation of a child was shown to Kik Messenger, a mobile chat application.

An investigation revealed that the offending publications were uploaded from the previous Dunedin address at the core of the student quarter.

The user also has access to his parents' internet connection.

On 19 April, a search warrant was executed in his home in North East Valley, where the authorities seized electronic items, including the same telephone used to violate exports.

He declined to comment on the username & # 39; gumballmachinzz & # 39 ;.

Deleted and traces of images and videos of child exploitation were found on his phone, while the defendant exploited a Tumblr account under the name of "wandering philosopher & # 39 ;.

That included a profile photo of him and the words & # 39; In everything and everything distorted & # 39 ;.

& # 39; Decided to give Tumblr a chance. I look forward to talking to all like-minded sick freaks here. 18 years or older +. & # 39;

An analysis of that account showed that he had sent / exchanged messages with 17 users promoting the sexual exploitation of children.

& # 39; Baby & # 39; s are the best & # 39 ;, he wrote in one post, the rest was too graphic to print.

In one exchange, the user said he did not want to reveal his interests because he had the & # 39; uni wifi & # 39; used.

A forensic investigation of a tablet showed that suspect used an anonymous social media app called Whisper to exchange photo's of the dog in a sexual act.

Another offensive image with a female child was also found.

– Stuff

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