Pervert father jailed over 7,300 'depraved' images of child abuse
A father-of-two found to have "squalid" images of youngsters, including an infant under one being abused, was yesterday jailed for three months.
Aaron Ravel (46), of Thorndale Avenue in north Belfast, pleaded guilty at the city's Crown Court to 22 counts of making indecent images of children between October 2013 and April 2014.
Simon Jenkins, prosecuting, said police carried out an "intelligence-led search" at Ravel's home in October 2014 and found a large number of computers and electronic storage devices.
When asked at the scene if he had downloaded images of children, he said that if he had, he would have deleted them.
Ravel then gave a no-comment interview to police when asked for passwords to his computers.
When re-interviewed in April 2015, he supplied passwords and admitted accessing and storing images of children, of which 7,367 - 174 of them in the second most serious category - were subsequently discovered.
The judge was told that the aggravating factors in the case were the large number of images, the fact that they were password-protected and that one involved the sexual abuse of an infant aged one or under.
Defence barrister Des Fahy said his client had been married, had two children aged 12 and 14 and held a "responsible job within the community".
He added: "When he was arrested on October 27, 2014, his world fell apart. His marriage has ended. He has no ongoing contact with his children. His employment is to be terminated."
The defence lawyer said Ravel regretted his crimes and added that the Probation Service required at least two years to work with the defendant on a supervised treatment programme.
Describing some of the images found as "squalid" and "depraved", Judge Devlin said the "young age of the children" was a particularly aggravating factor in the case.
He added that the threshold for immediate custody had "clearly been passed" and sentenced Ravel to 27 months in prison.
The judge stated that three months would be spent in custody, with a further 24 months on licence, during which time Ravel will be required to attend a sex offenders' programme.
The defendant was placed on the sex offenders' register for 10 years and made the subject of a five-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
The judge additionally granted a prosecution application for the destruction of all computers and electronic devices seized from Ravel by police.