February 2021

Paedophile with 8,700 sick images said he downloaded them by ‘accident’

A paedophile caught with nearly 9,000 indecent images of children tried to claim he downloaded them all by “accident”.

Ashley Maloney amassed a disgusting library of child abuse photos and videos – some showing rape – plus animal porn.

Police first raided the 31-year-old’s home and seized a computer tower and external hard drive on September 24, 2018.

But he wasn’t in at the time and rather than contact officers as requested, the brazen pervert simply got a new laptop and carried on searching online for twisted content to start rebuilding his sick collection.

Liverpool Crown Court heard officers left a copy of a search warrant and the contact details of an officer when they first attended his address in Poolwood Road, Woodchurch, Wirral.

Suzanne Payne, prosecuting, said analysis of his computer later revealed more than 8,500 images, with 6,843 created between August 15 and September 23 that year.

Experts also found peer to peer software used for downloading more than 170 files, with details indicative of indecent images.

Police left numerous voicemails for Maloney and sent three letters asking him to attend an interview.

But he didn’t show up and was circulated as wanted, before he was arrested at home on March 7, 2020.

Police searched his property again and seized a new laptop and computer tower, before interviewing him first about the 2018 stash.

Maloney denied seeking out indecent images and said he downloaded movies and games from Russian websites, but sometimes illegal images were contained within torrents.

Ms Payne said he denied having a sexual interest in children and said the indecent images were “downloaded accidentally”.

Analysis of his new laptop and computer revealed searches for an infamous and depraved collection of indecent child sexual images plus more peer to peer software.

When interviewed again on August 21 last year, Maloney said he obtained the laptop from a sister in 2018 to replace the computer seized by police, then bought the computer tower in 2019.

He again said any indecent images were downloaded “accidentally” and denied any sexual interest in children.

Maloney had 46 Category A videos and photos – the most serious category showing child rape – plus 157 Category B and 8,577 Category C files, adding up to 8,793 in total.

He had nine extreme porn files, including videos showing women having sex with dogs, and a single prohibited image.

Ms Payne said movies showed girls aged 12 to 15 being sexually abused, there were photos of girls aged 10 to 14, and he had a Category C photo of a girl aged three or four.

Maloney admitted 11 sexual offences, including downloading and possessing indecent images of children, possessing extreme pornography and possessing a prohibited image.

He has one past conviction for using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour causing fear of violence in 2007.

Judge Murray ordered Maloney to sign on the Sex Offenders Register and comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years, which he said would provide protection to the public

Judge Murray handed Maloney 16 months in prison, suspended for two years, and told him to attend a 20-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement, the Horizon sex offenders treatment programme and a six-month alcohol treatment requirement.

He reserved any breaches to himself and warned: “It’s not likely you’re going to get a second chance, you just about got this one.”