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Thursday, 4 May, 2000, 17:18 GMT 18:18 UK
Child porn offender jailed

A man has been jailed at Belfast Crown Court for child pornography offences over the internet.

Carey Lyons, 42, from Doagh Road in Newtownabbey, County Antrim, was jailed for six months.

He admitted making and distributing indecent pictures of children.

The court was told that police had found compact discs, containing up to 50,000 still and moving indecent images of children, hidden under his bed.

It is the first case of its kind to come to court in Northern Ireland.

Arrest followed tip-off

Prosecuting lawyer Peter Magill said the RUC had been given a tip-off from the obscene publications unit of Greater Manchester Police.

The force had advised there was an internet paedophile operating from the Newtownabbey address.
Carey Lyons
Carey Lyons was jailed for six months

When he was first questioned by detectives Lyons had said: "I've been a bad boy. There's stuff on my computer there shouldn't have been".

The court was told that although Lyons had certain intellectual difficulties, he was well versed in computer technology.

Lyons was released on bail while police sifted through the thousands of "entirely obscene" images.

He had tried - unsuccessfully - to kill himself by taking an overdose.

Previous offences

Mr Magill revealed that Lyons, when aged 19 and 20, had appeared twice before magistrates in 1978 for indecent assault on children.

But he said Lyons had co-operated fully with police who have since seized all his computer equipment.

Defence QC Patrick Lynch said Lyons did not feel he was hurting anyone and considered what he was doing as a "private activity " and a "victimless crime".

He added that many of the images were duplicates and that those he had sent himself over the web were not directed at specific people but were "sent out to the ether as it were".

Mr Lynch said that since being uncovered, Lyons had lost his job as a groundsman and security guard.

He said the defendant had had to flee his Newtownabbey home and, to an extent, had already been punished for his activities.

He added Lyons did not appreciate he was doing wrong and was someone who had been experimenting and "simply fiddling around" with his computer.

Sex offenders' course

The 42-year-old pleaded guilty to making and distributing indecent photographs.

Judge John Petrie said Lyons deserved credit for his guilty pleas to the 12 charges of making and distributing indecent photographs of children, committed between January 1998 and June last year.

But he said he would be failing in his duty if he did not jail Lyons.

He was put on the RUC's sex offenders' register.

He was sentenced to six months in jail followed by 12 months probation, provided he attend an intensive sex offenders' course at a special centre at Alderwood House on the outskirts of Belfast.

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