LL Camps co founder Ben Lewis pleads guilty over indecent images of children charge

Fellow LL Camps co-founder Tal Landsman on trial for alleged cruelty


Naked pictures of three-and four-year-old girls were found on the mobile phone of one of the owners of a children’s summer camp, a jury heard this week.

The indecent images on Ben Lewis’s iPhone were discovered by a member of staff at LL Camps in Bushey, Hertfordshire, who said the sight of them had “polluted” her brain.

Ben Lewis has admitted three counts of making indecent images of children, and one count of taking indecent images.

Prosecutor Ann Evans told the jury at St Albans Crown Court: "Ben Lewis has pleaded guilty to possessing indecent images."

Witness Sandra Vicente said that Mr Lewis, 26, the co-owner of LL Camps, had given her his phone and PIN so she could play music at a children’s party on August 1 last year.

She said: “First I saw children on a beach. They were not wearing anything. They were aged three to four. “Then I saw pictures that had been taken in a changing room. I saw children’s vaginas. I would say they were aged three to four. I felt my brain was polluted. I felt sick.”

She said the images were also seen by other workers, Mohammed Ramli and Shelby Silver.

That night, she said, she told Tal Landsman, 26, co-owner of LL camps with Mr Lewis, what she had seen, but the prosecution allege he did nothing and allowed his friend to continue at work.

Ms Vicente said the next day Mr Lewis spoke to her at work. “He said: ‘There is something disgusting on my phone. I don’t know how it got there’,” she said.

Three days later she reported Mr Lewis after he came to her with a three-year-old girl from her group who he said he had found in the toilets and had wet herself.

“At that point, I put my foot down. I thought I had to do something. I went home from work and called the police,” she said.

Mr Landsman, of Crambus Court, Admiral Drive, Stevenage, pleads not guilty to a single charge of cruelty to a person under 16 between July 31 and August 7 2015.

Mrs Evans told the jury that when Ms Vicente spoke to Mr Landsman he said would sort it and also that she shouldn’t tell anyone and asked her if she had told anyone already.

She said later that night Mr Landsman sent Ms Vicente a WhatsApp message saying: “You need to promise me that this will not be spoken about at camp or to anyone”.

Mrs Evans told the jury: “You may conclude that Tal was extremely reluctant to do anything about the information she had provided.

“You may think this is the height of irresponsibility and, as co-owner, his first duty in this situation should have been to the children, not the co-owner Ben Lewis. He said he would write a report about what happened and she trusted him to do so. He even suggested to Sandra that it might just be a phase Ben was going through.”

Shelby Silver, the girlfriend of the defendant’s brother Adam, was said to have spoken to Mr Landsman on Monday August 3. He allegedly told her he was receiving conflicting stories.

Dan Risner, another director of LL Camps, was allegedly told by Mr Landsman that if what Mr Lewis had on his phone got out he could lose everything. At a meeting, Mr Landsman declared a conflict of interest and agreed that his brother Adam should now deal with the matter, the court heard.

Mrs Evans said staff had immediately told Mr Landsman what had been found on Ben Lewis’s phone. “In an effort to protect his friend, he did nothing about what he had heard, and allowed the parties and activities to keep running the camp until eventually Ofsted moved in and closed the place down on August 6 last year,” she said.

On 27 August Mr Landsman was arrested at his home in Stevenage. He made no comment to police questions.

Mrs Evans told the jury of 7 men and 5 woman: “This trial is not concerned with the guilt or innocence of Mr Lewis, the focus of your deliberations is Mr Landsman. What is not in dispute is that what was found on Mr Lewis’s phone were indecent images of very young children.

“As far as Mr Landsman is concerned, friend or no friend, it was his obligation for the safety of the children in his care to report Mr Lewis, to remove him from the premises, or shut the operations. By not doing so, he exposed these children to the unnecessary risk that they would suffer harm at the hands of his co-director.”
The case continues.

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