February 2019

Paedophile caught with child abuse images after reporting offer to ‘share’ boy

A paedophile who tipped off gardaí about plans by other men to “share” an 11-year-old boy was found in possession of child sexual abuse imageswhen officers subsequently raided his house.

Hugh McBride (61) will permanently be on the sex offenders after previously being found guilty of a series of attacks on children in England in the 1980s and 1990s.

He appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court after pleading guilty to possession of child abuse images on his laptop at his rented home at Oldtown, Letterkenny.

The court heard McBride was contacted by another sex offender whom he met in Dublin’s Arbour Hill Prison while on remand. He put him in touch with a third party as he was seeking to find work.

However, when he contacted McBride he asked him if he wanted to “share” an 11-year-old boy he had identified in Cork. McBride declined and reported the matter to gardaí, who decided to raid McBride’s house and found the laptop and other items.

The laptop was examined and found to contain 334 child pornography images, many of which had been taken from a nudist website. The court heard the severity of the images was at the lower end of the scale.

During a garda interview on February 10th, 2017, McBride said he took the pictures from nudist websites, adding “that to me is not child porn”.

McBride was asked if he had a sexual interest in boys and replied: “Yes, it never goes away”.

The court heard that McBride lives a “pathetic lifestyle” and has been moved on from three different houses after people learned of his previous convictions.

Shane Costello, for McBride, said his client had significant previous convictions and is already subject to a lifelong monitoring on the sex offenders register.

“He always took responsibility for the images. It is to his credit that underneath all of this he went to the gardaí to report a far more serious crime, potentially of a boy aged 11 being shared about Cork city.”

Mr Costello also said his client was not buying the images of the children but that he was managing his own depravity by using images freely available.

Judge John Aylmer was told that McBride’s past crimes included gross indecency against young children, taking indecent photographs of young children and indecent assault, for which he served substantial jail sentences.

Judge Aylmer said it was a complex case and he would pass sentence on Friday.

April 2013

Pervert Hugh McBride jailed for just 18 months for historic sex abuse on boy

A pervert who sexually abused a young boy more than 20 years ago has been jailed for just 18 months because he had to be sentenced according to “old law”.

It means that with time served on remand, Hugh McBride can expect to be released within a month.

The 55-year-old admitted two offences of indecent assault and two of indecency with a child, committed in Medway in late 1989.

The victim kept the “dark secret” until 2010 and in the meantime McBride went on to commit a string of similar offences in Humberside and was jailed in May 1999 for five years.

After his release in 2002, he was deported back to Ireland. When the earlier offences were revealed, he was arrested in May last year and extradited back to the UK.

McBride at first pleaded not guilty to the charges and then sought an indication from Judge Philip Statman as to what the likely sentence would be if he admitted guilt.

The judge refused to give the indication, known as a Goodyear Direction, and allowed the prosecution to put McBride’s previous convictions before a jury. Only then did he enter guilty pleas.

The maximum sentence for indecency with a child in 1989 was two years. It has since been increased to a starting point of 13 years.

Judge Statman said he considered those offences as being more serious than the indecent assaults – the maximum sentence for which in 1989 was 10 years.

Hugh McBride was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court

He told McBride, of Stranorlar, Co Donegal: “Had you committed these offences today, I would have been looking at a starting point of somewhere in the region of 13 years, but those particular provisions are not available to me.

“I can’t go anywhere near that. I have to sentence you in accordance with the maximum sentence available back in 1989.”

The correct starting point for indecency with a child, he said, was 20 months. It was reduced to 18 months to reflect McBride’s guilty pleas. He was sentenced to nine months concurrent for the indecent assaults.

Maidstone Crown Court heard he was living in Rainham when he molested the victim, who was aged about eight.

“As he got older he realised how wrong it was,” said prosecutor Oliver Dunkin. “He told his partner in 2010 and then his mother. He sought counselling. He eventually reported it to the police.”

The victim could only remember the name Hugh, but police were able to discover his full identity.

Judge Statman said of the 1989 victim: “For some 23 years he kept this dark secret of what you had done to him. With the aid of assistance at work and counselling, he felt able to tell his story eventually to the police.

“He had as one of the triggers in his mind to report what happened to him as he never wanted the same to befall another child.

“What he didn’t know is you went on to commit a string of sexual offences against children throughout the 1990s.”

McBride, he said, weighed up very carefully all the options available to him before entering guilty pleas, using the system and the way the law worked to see what advantage he could obtain.

“However, late in the day you did the right thing,” Judge Statman added. “It alleviated the suffering of your victim because he did not have to go through the ordeal of all you had done to him in front of 12 members of a jury, who were strangers to him.”

McBride himself suffered horrendous sexual abuse as a child and knew “well fine the horror such abuse would cause another child”.

After his release from the five-year sentence he went on a rehabilitation course and kept out of trouble. He was now settled in Ireland and being monitored every six weeks by police there.