Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Policeman guilty of child porn charges

A police officer has pleaded guilty to a string of child pornography charges, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

William Neil McGonigle (39), who is understood to have been stationed in the Banbridge area before his sordid crimes were uncovered last year, has admitted 10 counts of making indecent photographs of a child and one count of attempting to make such images.

McGonigle, whose address was given in court as 65 Knock Road, Belfast — which is PSNI Headquarters — was suspended from the force on full pay when he was first charged with the offences in March last year.

After pleading guilty to the charges at Newry Crown Court on Monday McGonigle was released on bail to return for sentencing later this month.

The court also lifted court restrictions banning the media from identifying McGonigle.

The officer's arrest sent shockwaves through the PSNI. A security source said: "The case has been the topic of conversation among his former colleagues for some time. Everyone is pretty horrified by all of this. These are very serious offences".

The PSNI last night said they could not confirm if he has now been dismissed in light of his guilty plea.

A PSNI spokeswoman said: "The PSNI do not discuss individual officers or the details of internal management procedures."

Policing Board member Basil McCrea said: "It is a matter for the Chief Constable but I would expect, having been found guilty of such a serious offence, there is no question he will be dismissed," he said.

The UUP MLA added: "Police officers represent all walks of life. The vast majority are absolutely law abiding but unfortunately from time to time some people break the law and have to be dealt with. I cannot comment on individual cases but where any individual is found guilty of serious crimes like this I believe in the courts being very tough in the sentences they hand down."

It is understood McGonigle spent some time in psychiatric care following his arrest.

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