herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Man who had porn images of toddlers turned himself in

Gareth Bowes had been abused as a child
Gareth Bowes had been abused as a child

A Dublin man became "fixated" on child pornography he found online while buying drugs following a relationship break-up, a court heard.

Gareth Bowes (30) turned himself in to gardai and handed over his computer when he became "disgusted with himself".

Pictures and films of children, ranging in age from toddlers up to 16-years-old, being sexually abused were found on the computer.

He avoided jail after Judge David McHugh suspended an 11-month sentence at Blanchardstown District Court.

Bowes pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography at his home at Foxborough Manor, Lucan, on a date unknown between January 7, 2012 and January 1, 2013.

Sgt Maria Callaghan said the accused presented himself at Ronanstown Garda Station on January 12, 2013 and told gardai at the public counter that he had been viewing child pornography on his laptop.

When the laptop was examined, 54 images were found of boys and girls engaging in sexual acts with other children and adults.

Voluntary

There were 18 movies of children engaging in sexual activity and 13 link files.

Sgt Callaghan confirmed to the judge that the accused's handing himself in was "entirely voluntary".

The offence happened after the break-up of a relationship, said defence solicitor Simon Fleming.

Bowes began buying drugs online and, as a result of accessing these sites, "the other material became available to him and he became fixated on it".

"He turned himself in, disgusted with himself," said Mr Fleming.

This had had life-changing effects on him. When people became aware of it, he lost his whole circle of friends.

However, he accepted he was the "author of his own misfortune".

Bowes himself had been abused as a child.

The court heard the accused had not come to garda attention before, apart from minor motoring offences, and had a long employment history.

Judge McHugh suspended the sentence for two years and registered Bowes as a sex offender for five years.

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