A court has heard how a Derry man was charged with making indecent images of children after his wife found them on the family computer and reported it to social services.
Michael Mullan, of Cooleen Park, Culmore, pleaded guilty to thirteen charges of making indecent images between August 9, 2005 and May 8, 2008.
Derry Crown Court heard the 49-year-old’s wife found the images and reported it to a social worker. Police were subsequently contacted and they seized the computer from his home.
The computer was examined and 35 indecent images were found. It was revealed the photos were of real children which had been downloaded from the internet.
Mullan was interviewed by police in November 2009 and he admitted he used the computer to browse the internet, however claimed this was mostly for motor cycle parts. He denied downloading the indecent images and told officers he was not the only person in the house to use the computer, that his wife and two sons also had access to it.
Defence barrister David Heraghty told the court that “admitting to these kinds of offences creates great difficulties, no doubt because of the strong feelings they tend to create in the communty and the stigma that is attached to them.”
He revealed the 49-year-old had to move from his address because of threats and when his name was published in relation to the offences it “lead to the start of public exclusion” for Mullan.
Mr Heraghty said his client was “deeply ashamed” of his involvement and fully accepts “he has difficulties in regard to his interest in these images.”
He said that Mullan now admits he began to look at the images about a year before the computer was seized and had only looked at them approximately three times. The court heard the 49-year-old has difficulties with alcohol and “deeply regrets adding to the difficulties at home.”
Mr Heraghty added that the offences were at the “lower end of the scale and justice could be met with a community based sentence.”
Adjourning sentencing until Monday March 23, Judge Piers Grant said he wished to consider the matter carefully.
He said children were “abused and appallingly abused to create these images.Anybody who purchases these images creates demand for them. Without this demand, these children would not be exposed to abuse and their lives would not be ruined.” Mullan was released on continuing bail, however Judge Grant said he should not take this as an indication he will receive anything other than a custoidal sentence.”