Had 500 indecent images of children

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A 32-year-old architect and GAA footballer has been put on probation for three years after admitting having over 500 indecent images of children as young as five years old.

Paul McVeigh, whose address was given on court papers as Rose Court, pleaded guilty to a total of 29 offences committed between January 1, 2006 and September 23, 2009.They include making, distributing and possessing 513 indecent images of children.

Derry Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, heard that the offences came to light after a computer consultant handed in memory sticks belonging to McVeigh to police.

They were found to contain 78 indecent images and police later seized McVeigh’s laptop and his work computer where more indecent images were discovered.

Police later established that McVeigh had distributed 186 images to other people on the internet.

A defence lawyer said McVeigh’s wife left him after his arrest, but said she was in court along with his family.

He described McVeigh, who is originallyt from Knockloughrim, Magherafelt, as a pillar of the community who had been a member of his Gaelic football club but he had had to leave the area where he’d been living.

The barrister said the 32-year-old had been in a fantasy world and become more and more enmeshed in it as the years went on and it had a catastrophic affect on his life. He added McVeigh had paid to see counsellors to help him.

Judge Piers Grant said the images, some of which were in the most serious category of child pornography, were horrific perverted and depraved and he said it was beyond belief that anyone would want to download them.

He said the pictures had clearly robbed the children in them of their innocence.

As well as the probation order, McVeigh also agreed to take part in a three year community sex offenders programme.

He was also placed on the sex offenders register for five years.