Portrush bus driver Gareth McAuley snared by Canada child abuse probe
An international investigation carried out by the Canadian police into a worldwide child pornography ring has resulted in the conviction of a bus driver in Northern Ireland.
Details of the arrest of the paedophile with a disturbing interest in sexual violence against young children were revealed at the Crown Court in Londonderry yesterday.
The defendant, Gareth McAuley (45), whose address was given as Eglinton Street in Portrush, has admitted 37 charges of making, possessing and distributing indecent images of children, most of them boys aged between six and 10, being sexually abused.
He committed the offences between July 2012 and July 2013.
McAuley, who was employed as a bus driver for the 2012 London Olympics, was arrested when PSNI officers, acting on intelligence from the Canadian authorities, called at his then home in the Waterside area of Derry on July 5, 2013.
A prosecution barrister told Judge Philip Babington that the police officers found on McAuley's computer:
- a total of 927 indecent images of children
- 546 of the images were of the lowest level Category 1
- 80 were Category 2
- 121 were Category 3
- 167 were Category 4; and
- 63 were at the highest level of Category 5.
The fifth category involves sadism or bestiality, while the fourth refers to sex between adults and children. The barrister said some of the images involved sadism.
She said McAuley deliberately sought out and shared the images with other people whom he talked to online. A detective constable told Judge Babington that McAuley was "an ongoing user" at the time of his arrest.
He said McAuley downloaded a file-sharing application and created secure private networks which he shared with other viewers.
He had eight separate user accounts and he shared his password with other people.
Defence barrister Ivor McAteer said McAuley told him: "I was in a dark place then, it was not really me."
McAuley was remanded in custody until he is sentenced for the offences next Tuesday.