A FORMER sergeant in the Irish police – the one-time star of the Irish equivalent of Crimewatch – had a stash of 670 vile pornographic images on a computer at his Newport home, a court heard yesterday.
Gerard Lynch, 50, of Lodge Hill, Llanwern, a former officer in the Garda and ex-presenter of Irish TV crime show Crimeline, was caught after an online operation by a child exploitation team uncovered an e-mail address registered to him, Cardiff crown court was told.
Gwent Police raided his house and in September last year, and found on his personal laptop four indecent images of children – two at level one and one each at level two and three on a sliding scale of severity which goes from one to five, with five being the worst.
There were also 666 illegal images of “extreme pornography” involving adults and animals, said prosecutor Sian Phillips.
The court head Lynch had a previous conviction dating back to 1999 from his native Ireland when he was jailed for nine months for soliciting sex with a child when he was found in a brothel while he was still serving as a sergeant in the Garda.
At the time, he said he was trying to protect children rather than trying to have sex with them – but his conviction in Ireland ended his police career.
Rupert Lowe, for Lynch, said his client pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and treatment work with doctors was progressing well.
Judge Niclas (corr) Parry said: “The public will always expect the courts to deal very carefully with cases such as this where there is a danger not only to the public, but children in particular. You are involved in very extreme images, a large number of them, it’s a serious matter and a worrying matter.”
Lynch, who the court heard has debts of £20,000, pleaded guilty to four counts of making indecent images of children and one count of possession of extreme pornographic images.
He was sentenced to a three-year community order for each of the charges, to be served concurrently, as well as a three-year sex offenders treatment programme and a five-year sexual offenders prevention order.
He was also banned from owning or using a computer with access to the internet unless it is fitted with software preventing access to child porn websites. He is only allowed to use a computer for educational reasons, to look for work or buy goods and services.
His lap top was seized and he was ordered to pay £500 costs.
After the hearing, people in Llanwern told the press Lynch moved to the area around seven years ago.
One couple who live in the village said they were “absolutely shocked” to find out about Lynch’s past.
The husband and wife, who have a young grandchild who visits regularly, described Lynch as “a danger to society”.