July 2016

Former Somerset college IT technician downloaded indecent image of children

A former IT technician for the Somerset College of Arts and Technology has been given a community order after he pleaded guilty to creating indecent images of children.

Prosecuting, Emmi Wilson told Taunton Crown Court that a colleague had noticed Sean McMenamin, 27, of St Augustine Parade, Taunton, making inappropriate sexual comments about a young boy on his Twitter account and reported the matter to police.

When police searched McMenamin’s property they found 192 indecent images of children on his computer and a USB stick – 34 of which were classed as ‘accessible’.

Of the 34 accessible images found, seven were classed as Category A – the most serious, eight were category B and 19 were category C.

The images had been collected over a four year period.

When the defendant was interviewed by police, he said the comments on the Twitter account had not been made by him, but later admitted that he was responsible for them.

Defending, Susan Cavender, said McMenamin was a young man with difficulties, who had lost his job as a result his arrest.

She said it would be unusually difficult for him to cope in prison and suggested he would benefit from a specialist course for sex offenders. A pre-sentence report listed him as a ‘medium risk’ to children.

Sentencing him, Judge Peter Towler said: “Any prison sentence I could give you today would be too short to make a lasting difference to you, a rehabilitation course will benefit you and reduce the likelihood of you re-offending.”

He said that of the 34 accessible images, the ones classed as ‘inaccessible’ – files which had previously been deleted – could have been available to him because of McMenamin’s ‘higher than average’ IT skills.

He added it was a sad fact that in cases of this kind, the possession of almost 200 indecent images of children was ‘a reasonably low number’.

McMenamin was sentenced to a 36 month community order, and ordered to take an accredited programme for internet sex offenders. He was also made to sign a sexual harm protection order, and the sex offenders register for five years. He will also have to pay £85 in costs and a victim surcharge of £60.