‘Hero’ had child abuse images

Gareth Crook at the 2010 Pride of Lancashire awards
Gareth Crook at the 2010 Pride of Lancashire awards
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A hero passer-by who saved the life of a brutally stabbed Chorley schoolgirl has admitted making and possessing indecent and extreme photos and images of children.

Former soldier Gareth Robert Crook, of Chorley, used his medic training with the Royal Artillery to intervene after he found 14-year-old Jessica Knight bleeding to death in Astley Park, Chorley, in January 2008.

Crook, 37, of no fixed address, was due to be sentenced at Preston Crown Court yesterday in relation to indecent images. But a planned video link from Forrest Bank Prison in Manchester, where he is being held in custody, could not go ahead and the hearing was adjourned for sentencing until next Friday.

At a previous hearing, Crook admitted seven counts of making indecent photos of a child between May 7, 2013, and March 24, 2014; and two counts of possessing extreme images of a child between December, 2012 and November 16, 2013.

Jessica’s attacker, Frenchman Kristofer Beddar, 21, of Adlington, was jailed for life after being convicted of attempted murder.

He was taken to police by his English mother Marion after he confessed to the attack.

Crook had been cycling through the park when Jessica, who was walking on a footpath behind Astley Hall, was attacked. He took off his hat, put it behind her head and used his glove to apply pressure to a wound on her neck which was spurting blood.

The trial judge Anthony Russell QC said the actions of Mr Crook had led to Beddar being caught after he had covered his tracks well. At the end of the six-day trial, the judge awarded Mr Crook £500 out of public funds.

Jessica’s parents Richard Knight and Jill Walmsley also praised Mr Crook at the time, calling him a “hero”.

Crook received a number of bravery awards. He was honoured at the Pride of Lancashire Awards in 2010. And he won a Chorley Smile Award.