Tauranga Architect Specialising in Childcare Centres Found in Possession of Hundreds of Child Sexual Abuse Images

By Tara Shaskey
October 26, 2018

Tauranga architect Neville Kingsley Saunders pleaded guilty to possessing child sex images.

An accomplished architect who specialises in designing childcare centres has been caught with hundreds of sexual abuse images of young children.

In an international police sting, computers and storage devices owned by Neville Kingsley Saunders were found to have 559 media files and images, mostly depicting young boys who were either naked and posing suggestively, or engaged in sexual activity with another child or adult.

Two videos taken with Saunders' phone were also found and deemed objectionable.

Saunders' offending was detected by a police officer from Switzerland who was conducting covert enquires in a peer to peer file sharing network.

The 68-year-old, who formerly lived in New Plymouth but now resides in Tauranga, owns Tauranga-based Saunders Architects. The architectural practice was based in New Plymouth until at least 2015.

Saunders' business website states he specialises in designing early learning centres, and his portfolio has pictures of 12 centres he has worked on.

While based in New Plymouth Saunders had a hand in designing the Stratford clock tower.

"Our vision is to be the authority for childcare centre development so that we can improve the quality of the physical learning environment for all New Zealand children," the website states.

It said he launched his business more than 30 years ago with his first design being for Kindercare, an early learning centre organisation.

According to a summary of facts, his offending was initially detected on July 22, 2016, by a police officer from Switzerland who was conducting covert inquiries in a peer-to-peer file sharing network.

Saunders is also credited for helping with the New Plymouth District Council Civic Centre.

At the time, Saunders was online in this network and provided the police officer access to his folders. A number of images containing the sexual abuse of children were subsequently downloaded by the police officer.

A search warrant was executed at Saunders' home on May 1, 2017, and various computer systems, USB sticks, CDs and DVDs were either seized or cloned.

When interviewed by police, Saunders said he would stay on at work where he would watch porn.

He would do this two to three nights a week and would also save pictures to his computer.

Saunders said "speedos and shorts" were his fetish and named a website where he would get images of boys in this attire.

He admitted trading, looking at, and downloading images.

Saunders was a well known architect in New Plymouth and had a hand in designing the New Plymouth District Council's Civic Centre, the Stratford clock tower and law firm Govett Quilliam's seaside offices.

In 2012, he unveiled a proposal for a 22-storey apartment, hotel and office tower in New Plymouth's central business district. Saunders never revealed the proposed location or backers of the $30m project and the tower was never started.

In April of this year, he proposed design plans for a cruise ship terminal at Mount Maunganui.

On Thursday, Saunders appeared before Judge Chris Sygrove in the New Plymouth District Court.

He pleaded guilty to 12 charges of possessing an objectionable publication with knowledge, two of knowingly making an objectionable publication and one each of knowingly distributing an objectionable publication and indecency with an animal.

He was bailed at large and ordered to reappear for sentencing on November 20.








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