Probation order for Belfast man caught with over 500 indecent images of children
A man who was caught with over 500 indecent images of children on various devices has been made the subject of a three-year Probation Order.
Belfast Crown Court heard on Wednesday that Glenn Winchester's offending occurred six years ago when he was 18/19 and at a "sexually immature stage and exploring matters."
Prosecuting barrister Rosemary Walsh said the investigation stemmed back to August 2014, when police called to Winchester's Belfast home. He was present and told officers he knew why they were there.
During the search, police seized several devices including Winchester's mobile phone, iPad and laptop, and when these devices were examined, a total of 536 indecent photographs and videos of children were located.
Ms Walsh said that during the search, Winchester told police he would never hurt a child. When he was later arrested and interviewed, he made full admissions.
Defence barrister Luke Curran said his client - who has since moved to England for work - has had the case "hanging over his head for a considerable length of time."
Pointing out the offending occurred when the now 25-year old was 18, Mr Curran said this was during a period of sexual immaturity.
The barrister said that since 2014, Winchester had not committed any further offences, and has shown genuine remorse for his behaviour.
Passing sentence, Judge Neil Rafferty QC addressed Winchester, from Corrine Crescent in Skegness, and said: "You were watching images of child abuse.
"This is a vile trade, a disgusting trade where children are abused and the recording is put on the internet for every more, so that people like you can watch it. That's what's going on here.
"You might think your offending is in some way harmless, but it's not. For every image you watch, that is a real life child being abused."
As well as being placed on probation for three years, Winchester was also made the subject of a ten-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
Following the hearing, an NSPCC Northern Ireland spokesperson said that by downloading the "sickening haul" of indecent images, Winchester has "fuelled an industry that thrives on pain and suffering".
“The children in this material are victims of appalling crimes. It is vital that offenders like Winchester are brought to court to be held accountable, and the sentencing proves there’s no escaping justice," the spokesperson added.
“The NSPCC is campaigning for more to be done to prevent anyone sourcing and sharing this vile material, and for web providers to do more to remove it from their platforms.”
Children can contact Childline 24/7 on 0800 1111. Adults concerned about the wellbeing of a child can phone the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 8005000 or email email@example.com.
Belfast Telegraph Digital