November 2017

HGV driver who caused death by dangerous driving possessed indecent images of children on his mobile phone

A MAN has been found guilty of possessing indecent images of children on a mobile phone, which was recovered from his car after he was involved in a crash.

Paschal William McElvenny, 51, of Manchester, pleaded not guilty to 13 counts of possessing indecent photographs of children and told Chester Crown Court that although he used the phone, he had no knowledge of the photographs’ existence

But after a day-long trial, the jury found him guilty of all thirteen counts, returning unanimous verdicts on all but two counts which were passed through by a majority, following instructions from the judge.

The court heard that on August 12 last year, McElvenny was involved in a car crash near Crewe, and a mobile phone was recovered by emergency service personnel in attendance.

The phone was handed to Cheshire Police and when analysed forensically, it was found to contain a number of images of persons engaged in sexual activity, which prosecutor Peter Hussey alleged were of people under 18 years old.

At the time of the incident McElvenny was also in possession of two other mobile phones, neither of which contained any illegal material.

Mr Hussey said that McElvenny had given police the PIN code to access the phone, but denied in his police interview that he had downloaded the images or had ever seen them before.

The court heard that in interview, McElvenny claimed that the phone had been left in his car when he was living in a hostel, and that many other people had used his car and left personal items in there.

These people would also use the phone, McElvenny claimed when he took the stand to give evidence, and said that many people would put their own SIM cards into the phone for their own use.

In his police interview, a transcript of which was read to the court, the police officers interviewing McElvenny questioned why he had personal and private photos, which he admitted were his and had been sent to him or taken from the phone camera, in the same gallery as the indecent material, and why he would let other people use a phone which had such personal and private photographs on it.

During his interview, McElvenny said: “I have nothing to do with these (indecent) images – I have not made them or viewed them.”

He added that when the phone was left in the car “anybody” could have accessed it, saying: “I have had nothing to do with downloading these images. I have never viewed them and I do not want to view them.”

When questioned by his own barrister, Ravi Sidhu, McElvenny said that he had given the PIN code to the phone out to other people, and added that multiple people would use their own SIM cards in that phone for their personal use.

Throughout the trial the jury were also told that McElvenny was previously convicted in 2012 of sexual assault against a child, but in summing the case up Judge Nicholas Woodward implored the jury not to let that prejudice the trial and to base their verdict purely on the evidence they had heard.

He told them: “The prosecution’s case is that he (McElvenny) was the person who created the screenshots that placed the images on the phone – the defence case was that he was wholly unaware of the images’ existence.”

Following the guilty verdict, the judge adjourned sentencing for a pre-sentence report by the probation service.

McElvenny also pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to causing death by dangerous driving following the car crash in question, and he will be sentenced for both matters on December 1, 2017.

He was remanded in custody until that date.

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