Belfast Telegraph

Former council official caught with indecent images of children admits 39 offences

By Nevin Farrell

A shamed official who occupied one of the most senior posts in a former council has pleaded guilty to a string of charges of possessing indecent images of children.

Trevor John Stewart (62), a former senior environmental health officer at the now defunct Antrim Borough Council, stood with his hands behind his back at Antrim Crown Court yesterday and showed no emotion as he replied guilty to 39 charges.

Stewart's high-profile position at the council meant he used to attend meetings with councillors.

But he has now been placed on the sex offenders' register ahead of sentencing in April.

As he was released on continuing bail, he made no comment outside court.

Stewart admitted 36 counts of having indecent images of children on various dates between September 25, 2007 and August 29, 2013.

The defendant, from Grannystown Road in Portglenone, Co Antrim, also admitted three further charges of possessing prohibited images of children.

Details of where the offences were detected have not yet been revealed in court.

Stewart no longer works for Antrim Borough Council, which merged with another local authority and is now known as Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.

A council spokeswoman said: "Trevor Stewart was employed as a senior environmental health officer by the former Antrim Borough Council. He was dismissed by the former Antrim Borough Council on August 30, 2013."

In court, Stewart, who wore a suit, shirt and tie, was flanked by a female prison officer in the dock as he admitted the litany of offences.

Defence barrister Neil Moore told the court that given the grave nature of the offences he had asked for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

Judge Desmond Marrinan QC said he was placing Stewart on the sex offenders' register and that the exact length of time would be determined later.

The judge told the defendant, who previously had a clear criminal record, the risk of re-offending would be examined.

Judge Marrinan said the crimes in question were serious matters and added: "These are not victimless crimes".

He told how the children involved had been exposed to harm by people seeking to perhaps make money from individuals such as Stewart.

When bailed at Antrim Magistrates Court last year, Stewart was barred from entering the offices of the former Antrim Borough Council or initiating contact with a council employee without the knowledge of the public protection unit. He was also banned from using the internet.

Leaving court wearing a grey coat and grey woolly hat, Stewart attempted to shield his face from a press photographer by pulling up the scarf to below his eyes.

Belfast Telegraph

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