Pharmacist caught with indecent images of children avoids jail
A former pharmacist who was caught with nearly 400 indecent images of children as young as five has avoided prison.
David McKee, a 43-year old father-of-two from Edenderry village in Belfast, had stored a total of 378 indecent images of children on several electronic devices.
The paedophile was yesterday placed on three years probation and ordered to serve 100 hours community service.
McKee appeared in the dock of the city's Crown Court after he pleaded guilty to six counts of making indecent images of children.
The charges relate to a period spanning from January 2008 to September 2012.
McKee was struck off by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland after he failed to maintain his professional development following his arrest.
Crown prosecutor Philip Henry told the court that the images – a majority of which were in the lowest category and which featured children from ages five to 15 – were discovered on several items of electronic equipment including a pen drive, a laptop and a computer.
Mr Henry said that when he was arrested McKee made full admissions of guilt.
He also revealed he obtained the images from adult websites and chatrooms.
Defence barrister Ian Turkington described his client as "hitherto a man of good standing", and said it was "difficult to imagine a steeper fall from grace".
Mr Turkingson said that when arrested, McKee deliberately failed to maintain his professional development, which led to him being struck off as a pharmacist.
The barrister also told the court that after the breakdown of his marriage, McKee found himself "exploring the darker reaches of the internet" but has since expressed remorse and called himself "naive, stupid and foolish".
Mr Turkington concluded that the former pharmacist is now "a recluse with deteriorating mental health".
Placing McKee on three years probation and ordering him to carry out community service, Judge David McFarland also made McKee the subject of a five-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.