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Paedophile who had one million images of abuse is told he faces prison term

By Paul Higgins

Published 29/04/2015

Simon Hosick
Simon Hosick

An internet pervert who admitted downloading more than a million images of children being abused has been warned that he faces "an inevitable" jail term.

Refusing to release 37-year-old Simon Hosick on bail at Downpatrick Crown Court, Judge Piers Grant said he would sentence him this Friday.

Hosick, from the Lower Balloo Road in Groomsport, is facing a jail sentence after he pleaded guilty to 20 offences of making and possessing indecent images of children, possessing 10,001 prohibited images of kids and one further charge of having an image of extreme pornography, with all the offences occurring on various dates between December 4, 2007 and March 7, 2013.

Prosecuting lawyer Laura Ievers said while the indictment disclosed just over 10,000 images had been uncovered on computer hardware, police had in fact found "more than a million images" but added that due to time constraints, officers from the PSNI E-Crime unit were unable to assess them all and instead took what she described as "dip samples".

The majority of the still images and movie files were in the least serious categories of levels one and two but in total, Hosick had 128 movies and photographs at levels four and five which, according to legal guidelines, depict penetrative sexual acts involving children, often with elements of sadomasochism.

The images and offences were initially uncovered by Bangor-based computer firm Pentech Systems after Hosick left his computer with them for an upgrade in March 2013, the court heard.

Ms Ievers said their staff called the police who then obtained a search warrant for Hosick's home, which they raided later the same day, seizing a laptop, computer tower, external hard drive, as well as memory stick and pen drives.

The lawyer said a candid Hosick admitted at the scene "you will find pornography of children on them" and during later police interviews, he confessed that he had deleted some of the offensive material before leaving his machine with Pentech Systems.

Hosick also admitted that he had "shared" some of the files but the lawyer said there was "no evidence" he had been paid for that and that while it was not possible to ascertain the dates or numbers of files sent, "it is nevertheless an aggravating feature of the case."

The seized items were further examined in April last year and Ms Ievers revealed that as well as the still and moving images of children being abused, with an age range of between four and teenagers, police found "other indicators of an interest in children."

She said there were multiple Word documents, including one penned by Hosick, involving sexual fantasies about children.

Further interviewed by police, Hosick "expressed shock at the volume of indecent material but he readily accepted his responsibility," said the lawyer, adding there was no evidence or suggestion that Hosick had actually committed a sexual offence against a child.

Defence solicitor Darren Duncan said it was clear from the various reports written about Hosick that he had a "troubled background" and that there was "an unusual attitude" in his family to matters of sex.

The solicitor advocate revealed that pornography had been "readily available" when Hosick was growing up and that he had recounted to a psychologist that he had been "put on show to people who came to the house after a circumcision operation." Mr Duncan said Hosick had been assessed as a medium risk of reoffending.

Remanding Hosick into custody until Friday, Judge Grant said "I'm not sure I'm happy" with the distribution aspect not being fully investigated, but told Hosick in any event that he faced an "inevitable" jail sentence.

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