Belfast Telegraph

Belfast man Henry McAree faints after sentence over indecent child images

A west Belfast man collapsed in court yesterday as he was being sentenced for downloading indecent images of children (stock photo)
A west Belfast man collapsed in court yesterday as he was being sentenced for downloading indecent images of children (stock photo)

By Ashleigh McDonald

A west Belfast man collapsed in court yesterday as he was being sentenced for downloading indecent images of children.

Henry McAree looked unsteady on his feet before collapsing in the dock of Belfast Crown Court as Judge David McFarland spoke about the physical and psychological harm caused to the youngsters who were abused.

Just before he appeared to faint, McAree was told by Judge McFarland: "The courts are well aware this is not Hollywood. These are actual children being abused and they are being abused in the most horrible way."

From Grosvenor Road, the 39-year-old admitted possessing 900 still images and 130 movie clips of children as young as six being abused, which were found on four computer devices after his home was searched by police. He was handed a combination order consisting of probation and community service.

Earlier in the hearing, prosecuting barrister Rosemary Walsh said that on November 30, 2016 police searched McAree's home regarding suspicions that indecent images of children were being accessed from that address.

Ms Walsh said McAree "made officers aware he was the person responsible" which led to four devices being seized and analysed. It transpired McAree downloaded images and saved them in folders on each device.

The prosecutor also said that when arrested, McAree was "open and frank" with police and "accepted full responsibility". He also admitted he downloaded the images for sexual gratification.

Solicitor Pat Kelly, representing McAree, said his "naive" client "accepts his behaviour was intolerable and repugnant" and revealed McAree's offending occurred when he went from viewing "legal to illegal porn sites".

Claiming the fact the case had taken so long to come to court had caused McAree anxiety and stress, Mr Kelly said since his arrest in 2016 McAree had not committed any further offences and had a clear criminal record.

Passing sentence, Judge McFarland told McAree the amount of images he had of children being abused was "significant" and noted this abuse occurred "so that people like you can view it".

During the sentencing, McAree collapsed in the dock. After receiving medical attention by prison staff, McAree was handed a combination order consisting of three years' probation and 100 hours of community service.

He was also made the subject of a five-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

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