Derry man caught with indecent images after leaving laptop in for repairs

Robert Geoffrey Ferris.
Robert Geoffrey Ferris.

A 52-year old man Derry man who was caught with indecent images of children on his laptop came to the attention of the PSNI after leaving his computer in to be repaired, a court has heard.

Robert Geoffrey Ferris, from Ivymead in the Waterside, was placed on three years’ probation after he admitted seven counts of making an indecent image of a child, and one charge of possessing an indecent image of a child.

Derry Crown Court, sitting in Belfast on Tuesday, heard Ferris came to police attention after leaving his laptop into the PC World premises on Derry’s Crescent Link.

He asked a ‘knowhow expert’ to carry out repair work, but the member of staff alerted the manager after discovering what was described in court as a “disturbing filename” on the system.

The manager of PC World alerted the PSNI. Ferris’ home was subsequently searched and various computer-related items were seized. Despite initial denials, Ferris admitted the charges, which spanned over a period from September 23, 2008 to July 2, 2010.

A crown prosecutor told the court the indecent images of children had been deleted, but officers were able to recover them. He also accepted the number of images in question was relativey small.

A defence barrister told Judge Allistair Devlin there had been a “dramatical impact” on his client’s “work life, social life and family life” since the offences came to light.

Placing Ferris on three years’ probation, Judge Devlin said that while the “illegal and indecent material” amounted to 14 static and moving images, the offences remained “undoubtedly serious”.

Saying the youngsters in the images were “innocent children, robbed of their childhood”, the Judge told Ferris: “Persons who do what you have been doing support and encourage the global production and distribution of this despicable material.”

As part of the probation order, Ferris was told he must participate in the Community Sex Offenders Programme.