UK theme park UK Dinosaur World has closed after its owner was convicted of child sex offences.
David Hill, 54, admitted having sadistic videos of women and 31 still images of child sex abuse in the worst category A.
Hill was also the vice chairman of the English Riviera Attractions organisation.
The interactive indoor exhibition of dinosaurs and fossils is located next to Torquay’s inner harbour and opened in 2010 with Hill as the manager – before he took over in a management buyout in 2015.
Police raids in August 2019 found hundreds of the most shocking child abuse images and sadism videos after seizing Hill’s home and office computers, reports Devon Live.
Carolyn Custerson, the chief executive officer of the English Riviera BID confirmed that Hill had informed the group that Dinosaur World was no longer trading and he was resigning his membership of the committee.
Ms Custerson said: “Subsequently we have learned of Mr Hill’s conviction.
“We were all entirely unaware of this, nor any of the circumstances that led to this conviction. Naturally we are all shocked.”
Hill, of Pilmuir Avenue, Torquay, appeared at Exeter Crown Court where Judge Timothy Rose said: “The offence you committed was extremely serious and aggravated by the fact it was committed over a length of time and that you were actively seeking out images.”
The judge put Hill on the sex offenders’ register for ten years and made a Sexual Harm Prevention Order which will enables the police to monitor his internet activity for the same period.
An analysis found 31 category A images, showing adults having sex with children, and 164 less serious child abuse images.
There were also 314 movies showing adult women having sex with dogs or horses or having their breasts pierced with hypodermic needles or nails.
He was jailed for eight months, suspended for two years, and ordered to undertake a sex offenders’ course during 40 days of rehabilitation activities and pay £425 costs.
Hill was also put on the sex offenders’ list for 10 years.
Ms Custerson, speaking on behalf of the English Riviera BID Company, also said in a statement: “David Hill was vice-chair of ERA (English Riviera Attractions).
“English Riviera Attractions is a long established marketing organisation undertaking joint promotional activity, which has seen the production of a popular annual Attractions Passport, working in partnership with the ERBID Company.
“Neither ERA or the ERBID Company has any responsibility for the management and operations of individual local attractions.”