Greek vet downloaded indecent images of children in the UK

A Greek vet, formerly based in the North-East, was given a suspended prison sentence for downloading “utterly repugnant” child abuse images.

But as Michael Megalakakis is now back in Greece, he will only be subject to the terms of the court order if he sets foot back in the UK.

The PhD veterinary practitioner, who served as a locum in County Durham, was found to have 74 indecent images of children on a hard drive and air book computer seized by police on a visit to his former home in Sherburn Village, on January 24, 2019.

Durham Crown Court was told the offending material, collated between October 2013 and the date of the police raid, included 34 moving and six still images in the most serious category, featuring predominantly female children, mostly under ten, some as young as four.

When interviewed he denied downloading the images, and said while the devices were his, he claimed he did not look at indecent child images, only at adult pornography.

He told interviewing officers he was only aroused by adult female pornography.

Megalakakis maintained his denials at a plea hearing, in October last year and a trial date was set for next month.

But, at a pre-trial hearing last week it was indicated he would plead guilty, which he did, to three counts of making indecent images of children, on Tuesday.

The 36-year-old defendant, who is of previous good character, appeared for sentence via video link to his home in Athens.

Paul Rooney, prosecuting, said in his pre-sentence probation report Megalakakis finally accepted he viewed some of the images for personal gratification, having used associated search terms to access them.

Lewis Kerr, for the defendant, said the terms of any order imposed by the court would only apply if he returns to the UK.

Judge James Adkin, who described the downloaded material as, “utterly repugnant images of the sexual abuse of children aged four to 14”, imposed a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

The judge also made Megalakakis subject of restrictions under the terms of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, as well as notification requirements as a sex offender, both for ten years, but each only applies to the UK.

Judge Adkin said should he set foot back in this country, Megalakakis would have to notify police of his UK address within three days.

He also ordered forfeiture and destruction of the seized devices.