Top polo star jailed for five years for abusing young girls and filming the attacks for his ‘sexual gratification’
- Simon McLaren-Tosh admitted sexually abusing girls as young as seven
- Former top polo player was arrested following tip-off from Russian police
- Officers searched his computer and found videos of him abusing victims
- The 50-year-old has been jailed for five years and put on sex register for life
Simon McLaren-Tosh pleaded guilty to molesting the victims, who were all under 13, at his home
A top polo player has been jailed for five years after police discovered disturbing videos of him sexually abusing girls as young as seven.
Simon McLaren-Tosh pleaded guilty to molesting the victims, who were all under 13, at his home last year as well as taking videos of people who did not know they were being filmed.
The father-of-two, who sits on the game’s global ruling body, the Hurlingham Polo Association, was arrested in May 2014 following a tip-off from Russian police linking his email to indecent images.
When police searched the businessman’s home, they discovered sick videos of children being assaulted on his computer, Reading Crown Court heard.
Prosecuting, Michael Roques, said he filmed the girls for his own ‘sexual gratification,’ even filming himself touching one of the girls, aged just seven years, intimately while she was asleep.
McLaren was also found to have set up cameras in his stable tack room and bathrooms to make voyeuristic films of people without their knowledge, with detectives retrieving 130 separate films, featuring around 50 different adult victims, from his computers.
‘There is a significant amount of breach of trust,’ Mr Roques said.
‘It’s clear from the filming itself that the defendant was setting up the cameras, as he in essence films himself when setting it up.’
The 50-year-old hanged his head as a judge heard how he had filmed himself pulling down young girls’ pyjama bottoms.
The attacks against three girls aged seven and eight, are thought to have taken place at his polo centre home just outside Bracknell, Berkshire, between April and August 20 last year.
McLaren-Tosh lived at the sprawling centre in Maidens Green, near Warfield, where he also ran a livery and polo management company on the site. The former member of the Royal Berkshire Polo Club also owns Berkshire Classic Cars which buys and sells collectable motors.
Since the allegations first emerged, he has moved out of the family home he shared with his wife, Louise and two young children and moved in with his parents in Hemyock, Devon.
He had pleaded guilty an an earlier hearing to three sexual assaults on children under the age of 13 years, five counts of making indecent images of children and one count of voyeurism involving numerous victims.
The shamed polo player had admitted three sexual assaults on children under the age of 13, five counts of making indecent images of children and voyeurism involving numerous victims.
Simon McClaren-Tosh was also found to have set up cameras in his stable tack room and bathrooms to make voyeuristic films of people without their knowledge
Dressed in a blue and pink chequered shirt and dark blue jeans, blond haired McLaren wiped away eyes as the details of his crimes were read to the court.
Footage shot across his premises also caught three children on camera, including two children aged under 13 years and when officers combed through two of his computers, they recovered 28 indecent pictures of children downloaded from the internet, which he had deleted from the hard drive.
When he was first interviewed by detectives, McLaren tried to claim he had an interest in naturism and had never deliberately sought out indecent pictures of children.
Defending, Jenni Dempster, said the polo player had shown ‘genuine remorse’ and, in a rare move for a sex offender, admitted he had a problem and accepted he may be sexually attracted to children.
‘After a period of denial, the defendant realised that the proper and right things to do was to own up, to recognise that he has a serious problem,’ she told Reading Crown Court.
‘He recognises the profound effect his behaviour has had on his own family, the victims and their parents.’
Ms Dempster said McLaren had been struggling in his relationship and financially struggling to stay afloat, turning to alcohol to cope during the time of the offences.
The sportsman owned two businesses, Berkshire Classic Cars which buys and sells collectable motors, and Livery and Polo Management which was based at his family’s farm.
However the court heard the farm where he had lived with his wife Louise and their two children, aged nine and 12 years, was now on the market after the relationship broke down after his crimes came to light.
The father-of-two, who sits on the game’s global ruling body, the Hurlingham Polo Association, was arrested in May last year following a tip-off from Russian police linking his email to indecent images
‘Unfortunately he has lost his family,’ said Ms Dempster. ‘His wife sadly, but understandably, has moved away from the area and is not supporting him.
‘He has not seen his children since he was remanded in custody in March and frankly there is no question of him seeing them any time soon.’
McLaren, who played off a polo handicap of two and had umpired matches, was once a professional in the sport and won the Roehampton Trophy in 2000. He also sits on the world-wide rule-making committee of the Hurlingham Polo Association.
Judge Paul Dugdale praised McLaren for writing him ‘forthright’ letter accepting blame for his actions.
Sentencing him to a total of five years he told the sex offender: ‘You behaved towards a number of young girls who were in your care in a way that I can only describe as simply horrible.’
The judge said that McLaren’s secret camera footage amounted to a ‘gross invasion of privacy,’ and he had betrayed the trust placed in him to look after children when he abused them for his own sexual pleasure.
‘These were young girls and I have much hope that that these are matters that they have been able to put behind them and forget about,’ he said.
‘You need to understand the immense harm that this kind of action can do to young people. These sorts of things can have long-lasting effects on people and you are the person responsible for the damage.
‘These kind of actions damage the trust in communities; the parents who will blame themselves for having allowed their daughters to come to your house.
McLaren was also handed a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for eight years and will be on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely.
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