February 2021

Handforth man had hundreds of indecent images of children

A Handforth man has been spared an immediate prison sentence after he was found in possession of hundreds of indecent images of children.

Gary Terrence Mulligan, 53, of Chelforth Road, had pleaded guilty to a total of seven counts, including making, possessing and distributing images, ranging from category A, the most serious, to category C.

However, the eight month sentence was suspended for a period of 18 months by the Judge, after the Probation Service said they were willing to work with Mulligan, who had shown remorse and been frank in his admission about having a sexual interest in children.

Her Honour Judge Nield, told Mulligan the images he had in his possession spanned ‘almost every type’ of indecent imagery of children it is possible to be charged with as he appeared for sentencing on Thursday, February 11.

The defendant, who is currently out of work as a painter due to ill health, had a total of six category A images, 17 category B images and 423 category C, as well as 12 extreme pornographic images and 23 prohibited computer generated images, which were found on several devices, including a laptop, a mobile phone and two USB drives.

Julian Goode, prosecuting, told Minshull Street Crown Court how the Mulligan had been arrested on August 10 2018, when police executed a search warrant at his home address and seized several items.

During the course of the investigation, police found evidence Mulligan had carried out Google searches using terminology such as ‘free underage vids’ and ‘pre-teen vids’.

In addition to the hundreds of indecent images of children, across each of the three categories, police also found 23 prohibited CGI images of child abuse as well as extreme pornographic images and videos involving a man and a horse.

The investigation also found Mulligan had distributed one of the prohibited CGI images to another person via Facebook.

Mr Goode said: “The defendant was interviewed on two occasions.

“On the first occasion he admitted being in possession of indecent images and said police they would find them on his laptop and two USB storage devices.

“He admitted he had had a sexual interest in children and had been viewing child sex material for a number of years.

“In the second interview he admitted sending the image via Facebook.”

Judge Nield told Mulligan the most serious of the charges had been the possession of the category A images, which she said would be considered ‘wholly repugnant’ by any right-minded people.

She said: “The images show children of a very young age engaging in sexually activity, which is activity far beyond their years.

“This will no doubt significantly impact upon their ability to lead ordinary lives and have ordinary relationships into the future.”

She also told Mulligan that had the charge of distributing the CGI image been one of a child, he would have been at ‘serious risk’ of being sent immediately into custody

“I note the frankness in your interview which has led, no doubt, to the probation service saying they can work with you involving one of these special programmes devised to deal with internet offenders,” she added.

“The risk that they identified of further offending or being of risk to the public is said to be low.

“I must impose the sentence which represents the least onerous sentence consistent with my public duty.

“There are seven counts on this indictment that span almost every type of indecent imagery of children it is possible to be charged with.

“They cross the custody threshold and they must be marked by a custodial sentence, but in the circumstances and giving you full credit for your guilty pleas, that sentence will be suspended.”

Mulligan was given a concurrent sentence for six of the charges, with the period of eight months the longest of those, while there was no separate penalty for the seventh charge as it represented ‘a rolling up’ of each of them.

As part of the suspended sentence, Mulligan will have to wear a electronic tag for a period of four months, meaning he will be subjected to a night time curfew between the hours of 7pm and 7am.

He will also have to complete a period of rehabilitation with the probation service and must sign the sex offenders register for the next ten years and also be subject of a sexual harm prevention order.