Man who possessed 425 indecent child images given jail term

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A 62-year-old man who used his father’s Internet to access indecent images of children whilst on bail for similar offences was handed an 11-month sentence on Tuesday.

David Patrick Sherlock, whose address was given as no fixed abode and who is currently serving a sentence in prison, admitted possessing a total of 426 images of children.

Downpatrick Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, heard that whilst on bail in May 2011, Sherlock used his now deceased father’s Internet access to download the images. Officers called to his father’s home in Carrowdore, where they seized a number of items including a hard drive.

When these items were forensically tested, over 400 downloaded indecent images of children were found on a hard drive.

Prosecuting barrister Laura Ivers told the court the images were downloaded by Sherlock “at a time when he was subject to bail conditions.” She also revealed the images included one video which lasted nine minutes and 56 seconds.

When he was first questioned, Sherlock denied he had access to a computer, and said if he needed to order anything online his father would do it for him. He also denied downloading images of children. He later admitted a charge of possessing the images.

Defence barrister Charles MacCreanor QC pointed out that a vast majority of the images were in the lowest category.

Sherlock appeared in court in wheelchair and sat outside the dock throughout today’s hearing.

Sentencing him, Judge Miller noted that Sherlock was a serving prisoner and had been convicted of similar offences, as well as sexually touching a child.

The judge also pointed out that as Sherlock refuses to adhere to his licence conditions when released, he is returned to prison and “has effectively been in custody for the best part of the last five years.”

This refusal, it emerged, included not engaging with probation or complying with other terms of his licence.

Sherlock was handed an 11-month sentence, and is due for release next March.