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Belfast man avoids jail over thousands of child porn images

By John Cassidy

A former civil servant narrowly avoided prison after he was caught with a massive haul of child pornography.

Michael Samuel Gordon (64), of Knockbreda Drive, off the Ormeau Road in Belfast, pleaded guilty to 15 counts of making indecent images of children.

The divorced father-of-two further admitted five charges of possessing an extreme pornographic image, and five counts of possessing prohibited images of a child.

Prosecution lawyer Simon Jenkins told Belfast Crown Court yesterday that police visited Gordon's home armed with a search warrant in February last year. A computer, a laptop and an external hard drive were taken away for forensic examination.

He told the court a total of just over 15,000 pictures and 1,400 videos were found to be "accessible'' across the three devices.

Mr Jenkins told Judge Geoffrey Miller QC that 118 pictures and 45 videos were found in the highest category of offending material.

The court heard that Gordon told a probation officer he turned to pornography as he found television "boring''.

Defence barrister Sean O'Hare said Gordon had now fully accepted his responsibility for the offences.

He said Gordon had been an engineer before joining the civil service, where he worked in information technology.

"The fact is that he didn't cover his tracks and there was no evidence that he was keeping this material in folders. My instructions are that he had an addiction to pornography, born out of his loneliness," he said.

The defence barrister said Gordon, who had no previous criminal record, was now receiving treatment for his addiction to pornography in an effort to "get himself sorted out''.

Judge Geoffrey Miller QC told Gordon: "I shall allow a reduction of one third of that sentence for your guilty plea, to one of 12 months. Taking into account your previous good record and your age, I will suspend that sentence for a period of three years.''

Gordon was made the subject of a Sexual Offenders Prevention Order for 10 years and was placed on the sex offenders register for the same length of time. The judge also granted a destruction order for all the computers seized.

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