IT expert jailed over child porn haul

A COMPUTER expert who downloaded 37,000 child porn images on his computer has been jailed for 21 months.Michael Sweeney, 31, who has a young son, admitted 16 charges of making indecent pictures of a child.

A COMPUTER expert who downloaded 37,000 child porn images on his computer has been jailed for 21 months.

Michael Sweeney, 31, who has a young son, admitted 16 charges of making indecent pictures of a child.

Yesterday , Ipswich Crown Court heard that at the time of the offences Sweeney, who was working as a computer consultant, had an extensive computer set up at his home.

Robert Sadd, prosecuting, said that 37,491 images were found on his computers and Sweeney, of Whitby Road, Bury St Edmunds, had made a full confession to police and had helped officers access the images.


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In addition to being jailed for 21 months Sweeney was made the subject of a three-year extended licence period and was ordered to sign on the sex offenders register for 10 years.

He was also disqualified from working with children and his computer equipment was confiscated.

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Sentencing Sweeney, Judge John Devaux said the downloading of child porn led to further abuse of children and the "perpetuation of an evil trade".

He said the age range of the children in the images downloaded by Sweeney was between seven and 14 and did not feature babies.

Andrew Thompson, for Sweeney, said the vast majority of the images were at level one, which was the lowest level of child pornography. However he acknowledged that 1,100 were at level four and 705 at level five.

He pointed out that 11,000 of the images were duplicates.

He said there were personal reasons for why Sweeney had become tempted by the images.

Mr Thompson said Sweeney's wife had been unaware of what he was doing and it was almost certain he was going to lose his wife and his job as a result of what he had done.

He said that Sweeney had intended to get rid of the material on his computer before the birth of his son but had not done so.

Contact with his son was greatly curtailed as a result of the offences and the future in relation to his son was uncertain.

"That's the most devastating aspect of the position he has put himself in," said Mr Thompson.

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