Belfast Telegraph

Convicted pervert viewed child porn on phones he gave to charity

By Staff Reporter

A notorious paedophile has avoided jail after he viewed images of child abuse on mobile phones before donating them to charity shops.

Convicted pervert Philip Hull admitted to police that he viewed indecent images of children then handed the phones over to the likes of the British Heart Foundation.

Belfast Magistrates Court was told yesterday that Hull confessed to looking at the images after police officers called to his home on December 11 last year as part of his Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).

Hull (41), who appeared via videolink from Maghaberry prison, was given the order after he was jailed for a year in 2014 for having 27 indecent images of children.

A prosecution lawyer explained that Hull told the officers he had been drinking heavily after having dinner with his mother.

He said he had been viewing pornography on an approved website using a mobile phone but when officers searched the device's browsing history they could find no trace of the site.

Hull said that he had performed a factory reset on the phone as he had also been looking at indecent images of children.

The officers arrested him for breach of his SOPO and during interview he stated he had used phones to look at indecent images of children before giving the phones to charity, in one instance to the British Heart Foundation.

When asked by police if he cared about innocent people potentially buying phones from charity that he had used, he replied he "didn't think about it".

Hull's solicitor told the court that since finishing his period on licence he had struggled to cope with full release without that level of support, adding that he had too much time on his hands and had started to abuse alcohol.

The lawyer added that the recommendation of the Probation Service was for a period of probation which would include alcohol treatment.

Sentencing Hull, District Judge Michael Ranaghan said before hearing defence submissions he was minded to jail him but had been convinced that custody was not immediately warranted.

He handed Hull a three-year probation order, which includes residing at an address approved by his designated risk manager, engaging with his GP and receiving treatment for alcohol abuse.

Following his release from prison Hull, who is from the Shore Road area of north Belfast, was moved to the Salvation Army-run Centenary House hostel in the city centre.

It was while living there that he was caught by a Sunday Life reporter on a taxpayer-funded trip to Barry's Amusements in Portrush, during which he was pictured laughing on bumper cars and hanging around a children's playground.

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