April 2015

Former bus driver who admitted child abuse images offences has been jailed for three years

Man pleads guilty over indecent images cache

Gareth McAuley, whose address was given on court papers as Eglinton Street, Portrush, pleaded guilty to a total of 37 indecent images charges.

They include making, distributing and possessing indecent photos between July 2012 and July 2013.

Derry Crown Court heard that police searched the 45-year-old’s home as a result of intelligence gathered in a Canadian investigation.

McAuley had bought two DVDs containing child pornography which linked him to the investigation in Canada.

Police seized his laptop and discovered 854 indecent images and 123 indecent videos.

These were of young boys, with the majority containing images of boys aged between six and ten-years-old.

Officers also discovered he was a member of a file sharing network, which allowed him to access other people’s files and allowed them to access his with a password.

A prosecution barrister said McAuley was a member of an ‘organised network’ and was ‘actively seeking images of small boys’. She said he would not have ‘stumbled across them’.

McAuley

The court heard that the images and videos ranged from the least serious category to the most serious category.

It was also revealed that the images and videos in the most serious category ‘involved a sadistic element and the children depicted would be in pain and distress’.

Defence counsel Ivor McAteer said his client was suffering from mental health issues at the time and claims he was ‘in a place that dark it wasn’t really him’.

He revealed that a psychologist who assessed the 45-year-old said he ‘has no sexual interest in children’.

Mr McAteer said McAuley’s behaviour was ‘very much out of character and he is suffering the consequences now’.

He added ‘I don’t think this is a man who is going to come before the court again’.

Judge Philip Babington imposed a determinate sentence of three years, half of which will be spent in custody and half on licence.

McAuley must also sign the sex offenders register and be subject to a sexual offences prevention order for an indefinite period.

Man pleads guilty over indecent images of children cache

An international investigation carried out by the Canadian police into a worldwide child abuse images ring has resulted in the conviction of a bus driver in Northern Ireland.

Details of the arrest of the paedophile with a disturbing interest in sexual violence against young children were revealed at the Crown Court in Londonderry yesterday.

The defendant, Gareth McAuley (45), whose address was given as Eglinton Street in Portrush, has admitted 37 charges of making, possessing and distributing indecent images of children, most of them boys aged between six and 10, being sexually abused.

He committed the offences between July 2012 and July 2013.

McAuley, who was employed as a bus driver for the 2012 London Olympics, was arrested when PSNI officers, acting on intelligence from the Canadian authorities, called at his then home in the Waterside area of Derry on July 5, 2013.

A prosecution barrister told Judge Philip Babington that the police officers found on McAuley’s computer:

  • a total of 927 indecent images of children

  • 546 of the images were of the lowest level Category 1

  • 80 were Category 2

  • 121 were Category 3

  • 167 were Category 4; and

  • 63 were at the highest level of Category 5.

The fifth category involves sadism or bestiality, while the fourth refers to sex between adults and children. The barrister said some of the images involved sadism.

She said McAuley deliberately sought out and shared the images with other people whom he talked to online. A detective constable told Judge Babington that McAuley was “an ongoing user” at the time of his arrest.

He said McAuley downloaded a file-sharing application and created secure private networks which he shared with other viewers.

He had eight separate user accounts and he shared his password with other people.

Defence barrister Ivor McAteer said McAuley told him: “I was in a dark place then, it was not really me.”

McAuley was remanded in custody until he is sentenced for the offences next Tuesday.