Page last updated at 13:14 GMT, Tuesday, 16 September 2008 14:14 UK

Meehan convicted over child porn

Stepfather Craig Meehan
Craig Meehan had denied any wrongdoing

The former partner of Shannon Matthews' mother has been found guilty of downloading images of child sex abuse.

Craig Meehan, 22, denied downloading the images on a computer at the home he shared with Karen Matthews in Dewsbury Moor, West Yorkshire.

He was convicted on 11 counts and jailed for 20 weeks, but freed because of time already spent on remand.

His computer had been seized by police searching for nine-year-old Shannon earlier this year.

The charges related to 49 images, Dewsbury Magistrates' Court heard.

I am driven to the inevitable conclusion that the defendant lied in interview to the police

Judge Jonathan Bennett

District judge Jonathan Bennett had earlier branded Meehan a liar whom he said had been untruthful in police interviews and "continued to lie to me".

Judge Bennett said it was clear Meehan did have an interest in child pornography and that his lies had tarnished his "credibility considerably".

He said: "I am driven to the inevitable conclusion that the defendant lied in interview to the police and continued this in the account given to me."

Some of the photographs were so graphic they were categorised towards the highest end of the indecency scale.

Meehan was made subject to a seven-year sexual offences prevention order which bans him from having photographs of children under 16 unless it is with permission of the child's parents.

He was also prohibited from downloading or viewing any image of children, except for family photos.

Access to websites relating to children was also barred under the order.

Meehan had claimed during his five-day trial that he did not download the pictures on the second-hand computer.

He said there were times when the house was busy with people coming and going.

'Lolita' search

But the prosecution showed that Meehan was never at work when the material was downloaded.

Indecent images of youngsters aged between four and 16 were found on one of two computers at the house on Moorside Road where he lived with Karen Matthews, 32, for about five years.

Police experts said the computer contained 653 references to "Lolita" - a term commonly used by people interested in searching for child pornography.

The attention Meehan's case had attracted prompted the judge to offer him words of advice.

"Undoubtedly as a result of the events of this year your life has changed forever. Life cannot go back to what it was before 19 February."

Meehan, was cleared of one count of having an image on a mobile phone.

Meehan porn case acquittal urged
12 Sep 08 |  Bradford
Child porn 'risk to relationship'
11 Sep 08 |  Bradford
Meehan 'unaware of child images'
09 Sep 08 |  Bradford
Meehan denies child porn charges
08 Sep 08 |  Bradford

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