Northern Ireland father caught with images and videos of child abuse jailed
A 40-year old north Down man who was caught with images and videos of child abuse has been sent to jail for five months on Monday.
Jailing father-of-one Timothy Bates, Judge Patricia Smyth said that whilst the amount of videos and images were not the highest in number, what was depicted on the video clips and images was so serious that a custodial sentence was warranted.
As well as being sent to prison, Bates, from Bayview Road in Bangor, was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register for seven years and made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for the same period.
Belfast Crown Court heard that whilst Bates had no recollection of being sexually abused by a teacher at his school who was subsequently jailed, he believes certain aspects of his sexuality may have been impacted by this teacher.
This included Bates memory of "inappropriate and highly sexualised discussions within the school, including sex education".
At a previous hearing, prosecutor Simon Jenkins said just over 100 images were found during a search of Bates' former home in east Belfast on June 13, 2015. The search occurred after police received information that indecent images of children were being accessed from that address.
Bates was spoken to at the scene, when his laptop and a computer tower were seized. When the items were analysed, it emerged that Bates was in possession of 44 indecent images of children and 55 indecent video files. Also found on his laptop was an extreme pornographic video and prohibited images of children.
The court was told that the images ranges from the lowest to the highest category, including scenes of sadism and beastiality. Mr Jenkins revealed the two-hour long compilation video includes scenes were a two-year old is in "physical distress and crying whilst being abused".
Bates was interviewed both on the day his home was searched, and again in March when the results of the analysis of the laptop came back.
He admitted searching for images of young girls, but claimed this has initially occurred by accident.
Saying there were over 100 images - both still and moving - Mr Jenkins spoke of the "very young age of some of the children involved", adding: "There were obvious signs of fear and distress induced in several of the videos."
Defence barrister John O'Connor said Bates came before the court with no previous convictions and an excellent work record, but since his arrest he now has nothing.
"As a result of this he has lost everything. He has lost his employment, his wife has left him and he has no contact with his son, apart from supervised visits."
He said Bates, who has a degree and a Masters, made full admissions of his guilt, and has been seeking help via a psychiatrist "to try and understand what led him down this destructive path."
The barrister told the court that Bates started viewing the images and videos whilst "highly intoxicated", and has since told probation he feels disgusted by what he has done - but at the time he just couldn't stop.
Mr O'Connor concluded by saying Bates accepted he was "the author of his own downfall."
Sending Bates to jail, Judge Smyth spoke of the young age of some of the children being abused, and of the "obvious signs of fear and distress."
The Judge said the prison sentence was necessary "to reflect the public disgust and to deter others, thereby offering some protection to children against the horrendous abuse the children in these images have suffered."