Former St Aidan’s student pleads guilty to making and possession of indecent images

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Former St Aidan’s student Samuel Balderstone has pleaded guilty to five charges relating to the possession and making of indecent images of children. 

He pleaded guilty to the charges at Skipton Magistrates Court on Friday 9th February, which included the possession of over 2,000 indecent photographs of children. Among these were over 500 videos.

Mr Balderstone’s sentencing, which was supposed to occur on Friday 1st March in Bradford Crown Court, has been remitted to Bradford Magistrates Court, where it will now be heard on 16th April 2024.

Mr Balderstone, aged 19, pleaded guilty to the making of, all between 7th July 2020 and 14th July 2022, 708 Category A images of a child, 303 Category B images of a child, and 1,160 Category C images of a child. Category A is the highest severity of indecent images.

Mr Balderstone’s sentencing will be heard on 16th April 2024

He also admitted to the possession of 34 prohibited images of a child and the possession of an extreme pornographic image.

Mr Balderstone was a student at Durham University when the arrest occurred. On 16th February 2024, the Principal of St Aidan’s College, Dr Susan Frenk, emailed students about the matter, though not explicitly disclosing it. She advised that students may seek welfare support in college if needed, also saying: “We have been informed of a serious matter involving criminal offences by a Durham student, which took place before they joined Durham and were previously unknown to us. 

 “As soon as we became aware of this matter, we took immediate action regarding the student concerned. They are no longer at the University or in college.   

 “You will appreciate that this is a very sensitive and confidential matter. I am therefore unable to share further details.” 

Image: SomeDriftwood via Wikimedia Commons

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