Man caught with child porn at Limerick flat had planned hotel sex with young boy

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Email:

david.hurley@limerickleader.ie

Man caught with child porn at Limerick flat had planned hotel sex with young boy

The Courthouse, Mulgrave Street

A MAN who had thousands of images of child pornography at his home in Limerick had been exchanging sexually explicit messages with a 14-year-old boy for up to a year before his arrest.

The 31-year-old defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has pleaded guilty to sending indecent messages by telephone to the teenager on dates in 2015 and 2016.

He has also admitted possession of a large amount of child pornography at a location in the city centre.

Detective Garda David Godfrey said the defendant’s home was searched after gardai were alerted to an image depicting child pornography which had been uploaded to a named website.

The defendant’’s address was identified after the records of an Internet service provider were supplied to members of the National Protective Services Bureau.

Limerick Circuit Court was told a number of items were seized during the search and that videos of a young boy being “grossly sexually assaulted” were located on a phone belonging to the accused.

More than 2,000 images depicting the sexual abuse of children were found on a laptop while more than 700 videos were also found.

Some of the images and videos were of the defendant watching child pornography and evidence was also uncovered that some videos had been streamed online via apps such as Skype.

Det Garda Godfrey told John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, that gardai later established the accused man had “befriended” a fourteen-year-old boy on the dating app Tinder around a year before his arrest.

He said the pair were in contact “almost every day” via another app – Snapchat – and that there was a “sexual element” to the contact including the exchanging of sexually explicit images.

Judge Tom O’Donnell was told that in early 2016, the defendant booked a hotel in the West of Ireland with a view to having a sexual encounter with the now 17-year-old boy.

However, the pair never met in person and the teenager indicated he wanted no further involvement with the defendant after his girlfriend became aware of what was going on.

Following his arrest, the defendant made admissions telling gardai he was bisexual.

He admitted he would “propably have sought to have sex” with the young boy had he met him at the hotel.

Mark Nicholas SC said his client is a fragile individual whose family has struggled with bisexuality.

He said he began to isolate himself when he was younger and that he “turned to the internet”.

While accepting his client was aware the boy was under 18, he asked the court to note it was the teenager who had initiated things on Tinder by ‘liking’ his profile.

He added that his client had never suggested he was a juvenile and that the teenager had told gardai he was aware he was an adult.

He said the defendant, who has been in custody for some time, was “frank and forthright” with gardai and took responsibility for all the images and videos that were found.

“He identified his computers, he supplied his log-in details and he gave them his screen names,” he said.

Mr Nicholas added that his client had “lost his family, lost his friends and lost his job” following his arrest.

Judge O’Donnell will impose sentence next month.