Sunday Life

| 2.8°C Belfast

Pervert sailor spared jail over animal porn

Shamed yachting tutor loses livelihood and reputation

Close

DISGRACED: Dave Comer

DISGRACED: Dave Comer

DISGRACED: Dave Comer

A veteran yachting instructor and ex-Navy officer who viewed images of bestiality and sadomasochism while at work has been given a suspended sentence.

Larne-based Dave Comer (71), who spent eight years in the Royal Navy, has also lost his yachting business and had to resign from his local sailing club after earlier pleading guilty to possessing extreme pornography.

District Judge Amanda Henderson handed Comer a four-month prison term suspended for two years at Laganside Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

The lifelong seaman appeared via video-link from his solicitor’s office to be sentenced due to Covid-19 guidelines.

Judge Henderson told him: “Mr Comer, I wouldn’t normally deal with a matter such as this without you being present in the court but such are the circumstances at the moment.

“These are extremely grave offences and I am going to deal with you by way of a custodial sentence suspended for a period of time.”

The court heard some of the images “contained scenes of bestiality and sadomasochism” while a number of them were “cartoons” which Comer viewed during working hours while “bored”. His solicitor Michael Boyd told the court Comer had already suffered great personal shame due to the offences as well as losing his business and membership of his sailing club.

Mr Boyd said: “He had a proud career as a mariner during which he saved a number of lives and this whole case has brought a lot of shame on him. His good record is a thing of the past.

“He has provided an explanation as to how he got himself into a situation where he was viewing these images, although it’s not very compelling.

“He shouldn’t have been doing this and certainly not during working hours, there were many hours where he and his colleagues were bored essentially but there is no excuse.

“He has had to resign from all his instructor qualifications and the sailing club he was a member of as a result of these offences coming to light and has also lost his job.”

The court was told Comer intends to return to his native England to care for his 97-year-old father and had no criminal record prior to the offences.

Last month Comer pleaded guilty to five counts of possession of an extreme pornographic image on dates in December 2016 as well as November and December 2017. Comer was the owner and founder of the International Yachtmaster Academy in Larne, Co Antrim, where he had been tutoring aspiring sailors for almost half a century.

However, following his guilty pleas to the extreme porn offences in November, he has now closed down the business.

A short statement on the academy’s website reads: “Yachtmaster International Academy is now closed due to the retirement of the principal.

“Thank you to all my friends and customers over the past 46 years — it has been fun (most of the time!) This domain name is now for sale which we are now taking offers for.”

When contacted by Sunday Life about the case previously, Comer declined to discuss the matter before insisting we would need to speak to his legal representatives and hanging up on our reporter. He later declined to identify the law firm working on his behalf, saying he would “rather not”.

His yachting academy, with an address on Station Road in Larne, was founded in 1988 and offered a wide range of courses in various aspects of yachting.

According to his profile on the employment social media network LinkedIn, Mr Comer, who is originally from Southampton, served in the Royal Navy between 1976 and 1984 as an offshore training officer at the rank of Lieutenant Commander.


Top Videos



Privacy