A Dragons’ Den contestant who was found guilty of 13 child sex offences, including sexual assault, has been jailed.
Richard Hazell, 48, of Plumpton Road in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, was arrested after a girl’s father complained to social services.
Three other victims then came forward. At least one of them was under 13 at the time of the offences.
Hazell was jailed for four years and nine months at St Albans Crown Court.
‘Jail not enough’
He was found guilty of two charges of sexual assault on a child under 13, two of sexual assault and one charge of taking indecent photographs of children.
The court was told 2,957 indecent images of children were found on his computers.
Hazell – whose wife is divorcing him – told the court the images and search terms could have been “parachuted” on to his computers when they were being repaired.
He was also found guilty of seven charges of downloading indecent photographs of children and one of making an indecent pseudo-photograph of a child.
An NSPCC spokesman for the East of England said: “A jail sentence alone is not enough. Hazell must complete a treatment programme to tackle his behaviour and any risk he may pose on release.
“He prolonged his young victims’ horrific ordeal by pleading not guilty and we hope they get all the appropriate support they need.”
Hazell was a contestant on the BBC show Dragons’ Den in 2007.
He asked for £10,000 to invest in a diamond drill he had invented, but was turned down.