University of Hertfordshire paedophile caught with more than 500 child abuse images

The University of Hertfordshire De-Havilland Campus. Picture: Herts Uni.

The University of Hertfordshire De-Havilland Campus. Picture: Herts Uni. - Credit: Archant

A paedophile academic at the University of Hertfordshire has been sentenced after he admitted making more than 500 indecent images of children.

Dr Ronald Errmann, who lives in Russell Close in Steeple Morden and goes by ‘Ronny’, admitted making the indecent photographs of children at St Albans Magistrates’ Court.  In total, 531 of the images were category C, and 1 was category B.  

He is employed by the University of Hertfordshire as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Centre for Astrophysics Research. 

The 37-year-old pleaded guilty on July 27 this year, and was sentenced on Wednesday last week by chairman of the bench, magistrate Andrew Birch.  

The court heard that the offences took place in St Albans between July 6, 2014, and January 12, 2019. He had a 2.5tb  hard drive, 500gb external hard drive and two laptops seized by police.

Errmann was handed a sentence of 16 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to pay an £80 surcharge to fund victim services and court costs of £85.

The academic must sign the sex offenders register for seven years. He is also subject to a sexual harm prevention order for five years - which means he is prohibited from using any computer or device capable of accessing the internet unless he has notified the police within three days of the acquisition of any such device.

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Any device must retain and display internet history and he must make the device immediately available on request for inspection by a police officer. 

This prohibition shall not apply to a computer at his place of work provided that within three days of him using the computer he informs police. He must attend appointments throughout his 18-month supervision period.

The University of Hertfordshire confirmed his employment at the Hatfield institution, and that he had been suspended. 

A spokesperson said: “We can confirm that the individual in question was suspended with immediate effect and is not undertaking any work at the university."

This newspaper did ask whether he would stay on as a member of staff and if his computer would be monitored, but this was not addressed by the university.

Prior to taking up his post at UH, astrophysics researcher Errmann studied at Friedrich Schiller University Jena in Germany.