A former Red Arrows pilot from Malmesbury with an “impeccable military background” has escaped a jail sentence despite being found with almost 100 child abuse images.
Andrew Cubin MBE, now known as Andrew Lloyd, avoided a custodial sentence due to his “unique circumstances” after he admitted possessing the indecent images of children, including 48 in the most serious category.
Lloyd, who had an “exceptional” military record during his 20-year career in the RAF, including working for the air accident investigation team in Oman, was sacked from his job as a pilot for British Airways after his previous court appearance last month.
Appearing before Swindon Crown Court on Monday (May 30), he was handed a three-year community order with with conditions that he must attend 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and an accredited programme.
During the hearing, prosecutor Rob Welling said police attended his previous address, in Kings Meadow, Crudwell, in February last year following a tip-off about two indecent images being uploaded to the internet.
Officers seized a laptop and hard drive at his home and a forensic analysis revealed 48 Category A still and moving child sexual abuse images were found.
A total of 39 Category B still and moving images were also discovered while ten Category C images were also found.
Lloyd told police officers during a custody interview that he was searching for images of his 14-year-old daughter, who died in his arms in 2016.
She had suffered a cardiac arrest despite his best efforts to administer CPR before Wiltshire Air Ambulance arrived – a charity he went on to spend years fundraising for.
He claimed that she had uploaded photographs of herself in her underwear at the request of a male online before her death.
Lloyd, described as a “doting father”, had handed her phone to the police so they could investigate
“But he mulled over and stewed over this and took it upon himself to go onto the internet and find the person who had offended,” Lloyd’s barrister, Nicholas Wragg said.
“The fact of the matter is, the defendant had entertained a notion that, trading images as currency, he might find an image of his daughter.”
Mr Wragg explained that Lloyd’s offending “would simply never have happened” if he had not been suffering “intense grief” over his daughter’s death and “complex PTSD” from his military service.
According to his counsel, Lloyd claimed that being arrested was “the best thing that could have happened” and compared it to being “electrocuted and shocked back into reality”.
“Things went utterly wrong and there is no excuse. He admits his offending.”
But his claims did not convince Mr Welling, who said: “While it may explain some of the Category C images, it does not explain the Category A images nor why he filed them into separate folders on his hard drive.
“There is no reason to keep them if that is genuinely his explanation.”
Lloyd, flew fighter jets on 88 combat missions during his career, also suffers from PTSD after seeing “some particularly awful things” including child bodies and his own friends and colleagues dying.
He has raised between £1.5 to £2 million for various charities, including Wiltshire Air Ambulance. Lloyd and his wife were subjected to trolling by someone pretending to be his daughter.
Lloyd has been a pilot for British Airways and was involved in stunt flying.
Summing up, Judge Keith Cutler CBE acknowledged Lloyd’s “tragic story” and suggested he had had an “inappropriate reaction” to his daughter’s death.
“I accept what you and Mr Wragg have said about how it was that a man of your impeccable military background finds yourself here.
“It is quite clear that you have worked hard about trying to understand what has brought you here, what you have done, what is your motivation for doing so and have shown an understanding of true remorse.”
Lloyd will be on the sex offenders’ register for the next five years, whilst there will also be a sexual harm prevention order in place during that time to “reassure the public” that Lloyd is not reoffending.