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Man to be sentenced next month for possessing almost 1,000 child abuse images

Some of the children depicted were no older than two-years-old.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A DUBLIN MAN n will be sentenced next month for possessing almost 1,000 images of child abuse images depicting children as young as two years old.

Peter McDonagh (29) of St Lawrence’s Road, Clontarf, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possessing the images at his home on 18 January 2017.

The court heard that out of the 980 images found on McDonagh’s mobile phones, more than half contained extreme images of children engaged in or witnessing explicit sexual activity.

Garda Des McNally told Maddy Grant BL, prosecuting, that gardaí were initially alerted to the crime by Canadian authorities.

The National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre in Canada had identified images of three girls aged under 10 involved in a sex act with an adult.

The images had been exchanged on Kik messenger, an online social media platform, which the court heard was similar to Whatsapp except that users do not need to provide a phone number.

An IP address and subscriber details were traced to McDonagh, who had obtained the images through his Samsung mobile phone.

McDonagh was present when his home was searched on 18 January 2017 and made full admissions to gardaí.

Gda McNally said 536 of the images were described as Category 1, or the most serious category of child pornography.

They included images of explicit sexual activity between children and adults, children being tied up and restrained, and also children being directed by adults to engage in sexual activity with other children.

Most of the remaining images were described as Category 2, depicting children with their genital regions exposed.

The garda said some of the children depicted were as young as two years old.

McDonagh has some minor previous convictions under the Public Order Act including one for possession of knives. Garda McNally agreed with Anne-Marie Lawlor SC, defending, that her client had cooperated with gardaí and appeared to be genuinely remorseful.

She said that McDonagh was unusual in that he had used his own full name as his username and an email address which also contained his name.

Lawlor cited from a lengthy psychiatric report which showed that McDonagh had been involved with mental health services since his early teens and had been homeless for some years.

She said McDonagh had been diagnosed with an adult personality disorder which drove him to “delve into the depths of the internet” for that which would be perceived by society as taboo.

“He may have been attracted to that taboo, the red button, the utterly offensive act of looking at material of children – but he has no sexual interest in children,” maintained Lawlor.

She said her client was one of those people who fell into the category of seeking taboos, without having paedophiliac tendencies.

Lawlor said that because of his psychiatric vulnerabilities, McDonagh would find prison extraordinarily difficult.

She urged Judge Melanie Greally to consider imposing a sentence involving probation and welfare services to support McDonagh in the community.

Judge Greally adjourned the matter for sentencing on 3 July.

Comments are off as the man has not been sentenced.

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Jessie Magee

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