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Six months jail for man who stored vile porn showing adults having sex with children and animals

Court was told reports indicated he had become desensitised from the extreme pornographic images of children found on his laptop

Online grooming

A Portadown man – reported to have become desensitised from the extreme pornographic images of children which were found on his laptop – has been sentenced to six months in prison.

Over 1,000 extreme pornographic images were found on the 58-year-old’s computer, including pictures showing penetrative sex with children as young as 10, bestiality and incest.

The judge said: “These are not victimless crimes. Young children are subjected to these abuses because of people like you. If there were not users like you then the abuse would not happen.”

John O’Connor, of Parkside, appeared for sentencing on 12 counts of making indecent photographs of children, two counts of possession of a prohibited image of a child and two counts of possession of extreme pornographic images at Craigavon Crown Court on Thursday.

It was heard that the defendant had pleaded guilty to all the charges before the court at his arraignment.

Prosecuting barrister Nicola Auret outlined that on November 24, 2015, police conducted a search of O’Connor’s home at Parkside in Portadown.

During this numerous items were seized from the property including an HP laptop.

The defendant later attended at a police station for an interview.

The court was told that, when interviewed, O’Connor made “certain admissions”.

He accepted the laptop belonged to him and contained videos and photographs which showed adults having sexual activity with children and adults having penetrative sex with children as young as 10.

The defendant also admitted to there being bestiality images and also others of an incestuous nature.

O’Connor described talking to others regarding this type of material on a website.

He admitted to having watched and viewed the material for around two-and-a-half years, sometimes spending from 18 to 22 hours a day on the computer.

The defendant, following this interview, was released on police bail.

Ms Auret outlined that further images and videos were also found on an SD card which had been in the laptop at the time.

O’Connor was returned on police bail on numerous occasions before being interviewed once more on January 9, of this year.

During this interview, the defendant at one stage claimed that someone else was responsible but did ultimately confess that it was he who had been accessing the material.

Ms Auret told court that O’Connor did have a criminal record but nothing of a similar nature.

She also revealed that the defendant at the time had been subject to a six month suspended sentence which was handed down on September 12, 2014.

The prosecuting barrister stated: “These offences are aggravated by the fact these images were not simply viewed but stored in folders with a library of sorts compiled.”

Ms Auret informed the court that guidance on sentencing for persons with large numbers of images which were described as ‘Category A’ was between six and 12 months in prison.

She stated: “This was not a hat-full but it was also not in the hundreds of thousands.”

Defence barrister Kevin Magill stated: “My learned friend has been very fair in her categorisation of the case. This is a case where at the forefront of the court’s mind will be the potential of a custodial sentence and with good reason.

“So why should the court be deterred from doing so? Well first there is the delay in the case with the initial search taking place in November 2015, over four years ago.”

He continued: “The matter had been allowed to drift. It wasn’t until the actions of my instructing solicitor that progress picked up in late 2018 which led to the interview in January 2019.

“This according to the psychiatric and psychological reports caused problems with stress, anxiety and worry to someone who is already vulnerable to these conditions.”

Mr Magill stated: “Both reports show a thread of consistency with each saying he was suffering desensitisation at the time of the offence and a lack of empathy.”

He said that in the intervening years O’Connor had sought assistance to address his desensitisation and now understood that these offences were not victimless crimes.

The barrister stated: “He has come full circle, he does have a number of health issues including epilepsy, a heart condition, IBS and an ongoing investigation into a bowel problem.

“The psychological report also outlines that further investigation is needed of the possibility of early onset dementia.”

Mr Magill said: “During the course of the delay he has made remarkable progress and has desisted from going back to this behaviour, so much so that probation had assessed him as having a medium likelihood of reoffending.

“He is not out of the woods, work is still ongoing but I would commend the court to look at the alternative options which are available.”

When questioned by His Honour Judge Patrick Lynch QC on the delay in case, Ms Auret said that there was no explanation although she had been informed that the officer in charge had changed at some point in proceedings.

In sentencing O’Connor, Judge Lynch stated: “Mr John O’Connor pleaded guilty to possession of pornography in relation to children, some of which were very young, and other extreme pornography.

“This was found as a result of a search of the defendant’s home of November 24, of 2015, during which an HP laptop and SD card were seized.”

He revealed that examination revealed 56 images and 11 videos classified as Category A, 47 images and four videos of Category B and 168 images and six videos of Category C.

There were also 1,096 images and 82 videos of extreme pornographic nature.

Judge Lynch stated: “These images and videos were downloaded and kept on an SD card for later use. yYou also engaged in conversation with others of the same ilk talking of fantasies of carrying out similar acts.

“You do have a criminal record but nothing of this nature. On September 12, of 2014, you were handed a six month sentence suspended for two years for an offence of AOABH but this is now antiquated and of a different nature.”

He added: “These are not victimless crimes. Young children are subjected to these  abuses because of people like you. If there were not users like you then the abuse would not happen.”

O’Connor was sentenced to six months in prison and was made subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for a period of seven years.

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