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Downpatrick man (22) who downloaded over 3,000 indecent images of children given probation and community service


Police seized two laptops and other electronic devices from David Murray

Police seized two laptops and other electronic devices from David Murray

Police seized two laptops and other electronic devices from David Murray

A “LONER” caught with more than 3,000 indecent images of children was handed an enhanced combination order yesterday. 

David Murray, of Bishops Brae Court in Downpatrick, was given 100 hours of community service and two years’ probation after admitting 16 counts of making indecent images of children and eight of possessing indecent images.

The 22-year-old also pleaded guilty to attempted sexual communication with a 13-year-old girl.

Downpatrick Crown Court heard police acting under a warrant searched the defendant’s home on January 21, 2019, seizing two laptops, an iPhone and a Playstation 4 console.

Officers who examined the devices uncovered 3,270 images, including 3,227 still images and 43 videos, with 497 still images and 34 videos in the most serious category.

Murray, who had conducted web searches for "13-year-old sex workers'', "Philippines'' and "is it illegal to go with someone under age in a foreign country'', told officers he downloaded the images.

Police also discovered a Whatsapp chat log with a girl called Jamie who claimed to be a 13-year-old girl in the Philippines.

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The log showed he had "indulged in sexualised conversation with the girl, knowing her age, and asked for naked photographs of her''.

When this chat log was put to him at a second police interview, Murray admitted searching for the terms but said he "no recollection'' of his chat with the girl.

A pre-sentence described the defendant as "something of a loner who spends his days in bed and nights online and has no real friends except those he talks with online, living, in essence, in a virtual world''.

Defence barrister Sean Doherty said his client was aware his behaviour would be seen as "deeply troubling'' and "far from normal''.

He added that the offences had "brought ignominy on both himself and his family, who are hard-working and law-abiding people''.

Judge Geoffrey Miller QC said there was no evidence Murray had tried to hide his crimes or share the images with others.

He added, however, that the defendant had been less than open about his conversations with ‘Jamie’.

The judge added that while the custody threshold had been passed, he believed an enhanced combination order was the "most appropriate and proportionate '' punishment.

Murray was placed on the sex offenders’ register for five years and made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for the same period.

the judge told him."I wish to make it clear to you that you will be closely monitored by your designated officer throughout the period of the enhanced combination order,'' 

"If you breach the terms, you will be brought back before this court. If I revoke the order, the direct alternative is an immediate custodial sentence of up to 12 months.''

All items seized by the police are to be destroyed.

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