January 2021

Police crime scene investigator downloaded child abuse images

A crime scene investigator who was caught with more child sexual abuse photos and videos has avoided a prison sentence

Robert Sheridan of Ringwood Way, Pontefract, had downloaded images of girls and boys as young as around one year old being abused.

The 43-year-old paedophile was handed a suspended sentence yesterday (Monday) after pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity to three counts of making indecent images of children.

Prosecutor Ian Goldsack said police received information on July 16, 2018 that Sheridan was connected to a phone number that had been used in the abuse of a child.

Officers attended his home that evening and Sheridan said he had no knowledge of the number.

His phone and two of his laptops were seized.

Sheffield Crown Court heard it was initially found that one of the devices had been used to access child abuse images.

Sheridan was arrested the next day and he told officers: “I have lost everything.”

He was interviewed later that day, again on April 10, 2019 and again on October 23, 2019.

His devices were analysed and the two laptops were found to contain 23 indecent images of children, four of which were in the most serious category. Seven of the images were in category B and 12 of the images were in category C.

The dates that most of the images had been downloaded were unable to be determined, the prosecutor said.

The images included boys and girls, one victim in the images was approximately one year old and there were also a number of ‘borderline’ files, the prosecutor said.

Sheridan had used a large amount of internet search terms, including ‘model pre-teen girls’ and ‘pre-teen vagina’, and accessed a website known for hosting child abuse content, as well as using private browsing.

The prosecutor said there were also traces of a Zoom meeting and messages dating back to October 2016 suggesting Sheridan has an interest in indecency with children, including boys aged 14 and older and girls aged 10 and older.

Sheridan was handed a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with requirements to complete 40 sessions of an accredited programme and 25-35 hours of rehabilitation activity.

He was also made subject to a five-year sexual harm prevention order.