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Probe into Belfast man Gary Carruthers unearthed over 18,000 images of child abuse, court hears

By Lesley Houston

Published 18/12/2015

Gary Carruthers admitted having a 170-page paedophile manual on how to groom children in one of the most disturbing cases ever uncovered in Northern Ireland. Picture posed by model. File pic
Gary Carruthers admitted having a 170-page paedophile manual on how to groom children in one of the most disturbing cases ever uncovered in Northern Ireland. Picture posed by model. File pic

An investigation into a former primary school cleaner who had a ‘paedophile manual’ has unearthed over 18,000 images of child abuse out of a total of 1.3m images being probed.

The images had been found in the home of Gary Carruthers, 34, who yesterday appeared at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court via video link when the court heard that half of the massive dossier of images had so far been sifted through.

An officer from the National Crime Agency revealed that an interim forensic report had revealed “18,000 plus (images) so far which had been deemed inappropriate or illegal”.

Carruthers, from Victoria Street in Belfast, is charged with possessing the paedophile manual on September 16 and with possessing indecent photographs of children on the same date.

He is further charged with making indecent pseudo images of children.

The man, described in earlier court hearings as a “loner” who rarely left his house, admitted in October of having the manual in October which gave advice or guidance about abusing children sexually on 16 September this year.

The charges arise after Carruthers was found with more than 6000 indecent images of children and with pseudo images - where images of children including one thought to be from his locale at Victoria Street in Belfast - are superimposed onto indecent images of another child.

The pictures had been discovered on two storage devices which were part of a haul of 30 similar files found in a safe in the bedroom of the house he shared with is mother and sister.

Earlier this month an official from the Public Prosecution service revealed the vast number of images found - over a million - which had prompted the enlisting of a private forensic agent to assist.

At yesterday’s hearing, district judge Desmond Perry sought clarification over the level of abuse contained within the disturbing images, and it was confirmed by the NCA officer that they were classified “right through levels one to five”.

He confirmed a full report on the case was expected early next month.

"In terms of the remaining images we will continue to review those in between times," said the officer.

So-called advice understood to be offered in the disturbing manual is thought to include guidelines depicting erotic posing and full penetrative sex with adults.

The guide “on how to groom a child”  details first contact with youngsters up to the first introduction to full physical abuse.

Following the exclusive report in the Belfast Telegraph in October it came to the light that after Carruther’s arrest, the head of the Co Down primary school where he worked sent a letter to worried parents.

The principle sought to assure parents of children at the school that the matter was being dealt with by the police, the school and local education authorities.

Adjourning the case until January 15, when judge Perry remanded Carruthers into continuing custody, he told the defendant “it sounds like there’s good progress in your case”.

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