Man who admitted child porn offences jailed for three years

Court hammer
Court hammer

A former bus driver who admitted child porn offences has been jailed for three years.

Gareth McAuley, whose address was given on court papers as Eglinton Street, Portrush, pleaded guilty to a total of 37 indecent images charges.

They include making, distributing and possessing indecent photos between July 2012 and July 2013.

Derry Crown Court heard that police searched the 45-year-old’s home as a result of intelligence gathered in a Canadian investigation.

McAuley had bought two DVDs containing child pornography which linked him to the investigation in Canada.

Police seized his laptop and discovered 854 indecent images and 123 indecent videos.

These were of young boys, with the majority containing images of boys aged between six and ten-years-old.

Officers also discovered he was a member of a file sharing network, which allowed him to access other people’s files and allowed them to access his with a password.

A prosecution barrister said McAuley was a member of an ‘organised network’ and was ‘actively seeking images of small boys’. She said he would not have ‘stumbled across them’.

The court heard that the images and videos ranged from the least serious category to the most serious category.

It was also revealed that the images and videos in the most serious category ‘involved a sadistic element and the children depicted would be in pain and distress’.

Defence counsel Ivor McAteer said his client was suffering from mental health issues at the time and claims he was ‘in a place that dark it wasn’t really him’.

He revealed that a psychologist who assessed the 45-year-old said he ‘has no sexual interest in children’.

Mr McAteer said McAuley’s behaviour was ‘very much out of character and he is suffering the consequences now’.

He added ‘I don’t think this is a man who is going to come before the court again’.

Judge Philip Babington imposed a determinate sentence of three years, half of which will be spent in custody and half on licence.

McAuley must also sign the sex offenders register and be subject to a sexual offences prevention order for an indefinite period.