August 2019

Probation order for man caught with 3,000 images of girls on phone

A Co Antrim man caught with over 3,000 images of young girls on his mobile phone and laptop was placed on probation for 30 months yesterday.

When officers attended the home of Simon Douglas in June 2016 during an intelligence-led search, he told them: “I know exactly why you are here. I just can’t help myself.”

The 53-year-old, from Broadlands in Carrickfergus, admitted possessing indecent images of children and was sentenced by Judge RoseAnn McCormick QC at Belfast Crown Court.

Prosecutor Simon Jenkins said that when police searched Douglas’s home, they seized a number of electronic devices, which were subsequently examined. A total of 3,379 indecent images of pre-teen girls were found on his phone, laptop and a hard drive.

As well as making admissions at the scene, Mr Jenkins said Douglas admitted during a police interview that he had been viewing images of young girls for around five years.

He also told police that after saving images, he would then go through phases of deleting them – but would then “start again” and seek images of young girls online.

Mr Jenkins said that while Douglas came before the court with a clear record, his offending spanned over a period from 2012 to 2016.

A defence barrister said that as a result of media reports “some people in the community have taken it upon themselves to attack his home and he has been forced to leave”.

The barrister added that while probation has determined there was a low likelihood he would re-offend, there were “undoubtedly areas that need to be addressed”.

Passing sentence, Judge McCormick branded the images as “horrible” and “truly repulsive” and spoke of the shame Douglas’s actions have had on his family.

The judge added: “I note his offending has brought particular challenges to his door – quite literally.”

As well as being given a 30-month probation order, Douglas was also made the subject of a sexual offences prevention order for 10 years.