Radio 1 DJ found with 500 child abuse images on his yacht

A former BBC Radio 1 DJ has been jailed after police found 500 child abuse images on a yacht that he lived on.

Michael Willis, 74, who went by the stage name Steve Merike, was jailed for 18 months for the stash of abusive images kept on a computer, laptop and memory stick.

It is his second conviction for the possession of indecent images of children. They were discovered during a police raid on his boat at Plymouth Yacht Haven in 2017, the Plymouth Herald reports.

Willis was a BBC Radio 1 DJ in the 1970s before working at Radio Trent in the 1980s. He was previously handed a suspended sentence at Leicester Crown Court in 2015 after admitting nine counts of downloading indecent images and videos of children between 2006 and 2013.

Jurors heard he was in possession of those images while standing as a parliamentary candidate for the Lib Dems in Loughborough at the 2010 general election.

The former DJ denied possession of 238 of the most serious Category A indecent images of children, showing them being sexually abused by adults. He also denied having 226 Category B images on his computer.

Willis pleaded guilty to having 10 pictures in the least severe class, Category C, on a memory stick.

Giving evidence at Plymouth Crown Court, he said he found some of the more severe images ‘absolutely disgusting’ and claimed he had no idea how they appeared on his laptop, desk top and memory stick.

He claimed some of the images had appeared because his computer had been hacked.

Jurors dismissed his claims and found him guilty by unanimous verdict after a two-day trial. Judge James Townsend sentenced him to an 18 month prison term.