September 2016

Man caught with 24,000 indecent child images avoids jail

A MAN caught with more than 24,000 indecent images of children has avoided going straight to jail.

Michael Irish, aged 35, trawled the ‘dark net” to seek depraved images of abuse, Plymouth Crown Court heard.

Judge Ian Lawrie told him: “You have readily admitted an obsession with this appalling material.”

Most of the children were aged just between three and five years old.

But he suspended his prison sentence after hearing that Irish had attended courses to tackle his habit.

Irish, of Jubilee Terrace, pleaded guilty to three counts of making or downloading and three of possessing indecent images of children between November 2014 and April 2015.

Jason Beal, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said police raided his home in April last year after his internet address was linked to indecent images through peer to peer software.

He added that examiners found 1,683 images in Category A; 1,345 images in Category B, and 10,684 images in Class C.

Mr Beal said those pictures had been downloaded and deleted or were in parts of the computer which needed specialist software to view.

He added that examiners also found images in live files: 1,196 in Class A, 1,280 in Class B and 9,090 in Class C.

The court heard the total number of images he had accessed was 24,126.

Category A is the most depraved category, depicting particularly serious sexual abuse of children.

Mr Beal said that 6,784 prohibited images of children – cartoons – were also found.

Mr Beal said Irish had organised photos into folders with specific depraved titles.

He added that police found perverted conversations about child abuse with other paedophiles.

The computer was also set up to scour the “dark net” – the illegal areas of the web which normal search engines cannot access.

Judge Lawrie handed Irish a 20-month prison sentence, but suspended it for two years.

Irish will be under probation supervision for two years to tackle his habit

He was also handed a ten-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order which will allow his internet use to be monitored by police.

Irish must sign the Sex Offender Register for a decade.