February 2018

Doncaster pensioner downloaded child sexual abuse images

A Doncaster pensioner, who began downloading child pornography again just weeks after completing a sex offenders’ treatment programme, has been jailed for over a year.

After admitting to downloading hundreds of child abuse images, Peter Maher, of Harpenden Drive, Hatfield, was ordered to complete a sex offenders’s treatment programme as part of the community order he was sentenced to in February 2016.

The purpose of the programme is to rehabilitate sex offenders and to make them aware of the harm caused to children by people who access child sexual abuse images

Maher, now aged 70, completed the programme on November 16, 2016, and by December 28 that year he had begun downloading child pornography again, Sheffield Crown Court was told during a hearing held on February 20.

Prosecuting, Carl Fitch, said Maher’s most recent spate of offending was brought to light in March last year, after South Yorkshire Police was informed he had been accessing child pornography again.

“He was arrested, and volunteered he had been viewing indecent images straight away,” Mr Fitch said. Police retrieved an iPad and a Lenovo laptop from Maher’s property.

Analysis of Maher’s devices showed he had downloaded a total of five videos from Category A, the most serious of the categories which is defined as material that shows children being raped.

Maher had also downloaded a further four videos from Category C, as well as software to hide the websites he had been viewing and a peer-to-peer programme through which other users were able to access the indecent videos.

The children in the videos downloaded by Maher were aged between five and 11-years-old, the court was told.

Judge Graham Reeds QC sentenced Maher to 58-weeks in prison, and ordered for the sexual harm prevention order imposed in February 2016 to continue.

“The courts gave you a chance to show that this behaviour was out of character for you, and gave you the necessary help to change,” said Judge Reed, adding: “These images are not to be seen in isolation. Somewhere, a real child is being abused in the most despicable way in order to make these images and videos.”