Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Sergeant in court on 15 charges of indecent images

A soldier has pleaded guilty to a string of child pornography charges at Londonderry Crown Court.

A soldier has pleaded guilty to a string of child pornography charges at Londonderry Crown Court.

Staff Sergeant Stacey Eliot Ferris (39) admitted 15 specimen charges of making an indecent image or pseudo-image of a child on July 6, 2004, while he was serving at Shackleton Barracks in Ballykelly.

The court yesterday heard from prosecution barrister Russell Connell QC that one of the images is classed as Category Five, the most serious on a scale of one to five.

Dressed in a suit and accompanied by his second wife, Ferris, who is still a serving soldier at an undisclosed barracks in England, confirmed his name from the dock and proceeded to admit all 15 charges as they were read to him.

Judge Corrine Philpott requested that a pre-sentence report be prepared by the Probation Service in Northern Ireland as the offences took place here.

"Unfortunately, because of the number of sex abuse cases there appear to be in this jurisdiction, the probation services are extremely experienced in dealing with this and I have confidence that they will do a thorough job," she added.

The judge suggested that a probation officer travel to England to interview people, likely to include the defendant's family and commanding officer, with a view to completing the report before January 11, when he is scheduled to be sentenced in Derry. Ferris was given permission to return to England but will have to return to Northern Ireland if required to by the Probation Service.



SARAH BRETT

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