Belfast Telegraph

Four months jail for Belfast man McClay who viewed indecent child images over seven years

By Ashleigh McDonald

A 31-year-old man who accessed and downloaded indecent images of children over a seven-year period was starting a four-month jail term on Friday.

Sending Francis Emmanuel McClay to prison, Judge Geoffrey Miller QC spoke of the "very young and vulnerable children" who are degraded, corrupted and exploited in videos such as those found on the Belfast man's laptops.

McClay, from Chobham Street, was handed an eight month sentence after he admitted 15 offences including possessing indecent images of children. He was told he will spend four months in prison, followed by four months on licence when he is released.

Belfast Crown Court heard that two laptops belonging to McClay were seized during a planned search of a former address on June 3, 2015. When asked by officers if he was aware the images were being accessed from the address, McClay said he "may have seen some stuff by accident".

When the two laptops underwent forensic analysis, a total of 163 videos were located, some of which had been saved into folders. Also found on this laptop were files associated with file-sharing software, while the last login date from the other computer - which also had videos saved and stored - was the day before his arrest.

The videos were short in length, lasting from several seconds to a few minutes, with a majority of those falling into the two more serious categories. McClay's offending spanned from November 2008 up to his arrest in June 2015.

When he was arrested and interviewed, McClay claimed material was downloaded without his knowledge when he was looking at adult porn, but admitted he may have downloaded some images while drunk.

A solicitor representing McClay told the court the offending occurred when he was "in an alcoholic haze" or when under the influence of cannabis.

The solicitor revealed that McClay's offending began when his girlfriend left him in 2008, and worsened when he was home on sick leave from work, having been the victim of several robberies whilst working in an off licence.

McClay's solicitor said: "He does realise this is morally wrong and disgusting ... that young children have had to suffer in order to provide this material."

He also pointed out that after being accessed by a psychiatrist, McClay was not deemed to have a sexual interest in children.

Handing McClay an eight-month sentence, Judge Miller said that he approached the psychiatrist's conclusion "with a degree of caution", adding that from the titles of the videos alone, McClay was well aware of their content which he downloaded then saved into specific files.

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