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Pensioner who sent child porn images to FBI agent jailed

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Dermot Whelan pleaded guilty and was jailed for 18 months

Dermot Whelan pleaded guilty and was jailed for 18 months

Dermot Whelan pleaded guilty and was jailed for 18 months

A pensioner who was caught in possession of hundreds of images of child pornography after sending illicit material to an undercover FBI agent has been jailed for 18 months.

Dermot Whelan (67), of The Crescent, Belgard Heights, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of child pornography on two computer devices at his address on July 21, 2014.

Whelan also pleaded guilty to knowingly distributing child pornography at his address on an unknown date. He has no previous convictions.

Judge Elma Sheahan said the offences were very serious because they involved "the creation of a market for the abuse of children".

She said the court must keep on notice "the unspeakable degradation committed on young children so that someone such as the accused can seek sexual gratification".

The judge said she accepted that Whelan has been a carer for his wife and son in recent years.

Abuse

But she added that the court struggled to understand how a man in his sixties could engage in offending that has at its origin the abuse of children.

Judge Sheahan sentenced Whelan to three years imprisonment, but suspended the final 18 months on strict conditions including that he follow all directions of the Probation Service for two years post-release.

At an earlier sentencing hearing, Detective Garda Trevor Scanlon said the case originated with a member of the FBI.

He said that in 2012, the FBI agent placed an advertisement designed to appeal to people interested in child pornography.

The agent received a response from an email address which sent them 25 images of child pornography.

The FBI agent contacted Yahoo which determined that the email address was in Ireland.

Gardai obtained a search warrant for the Whelan's address and seized a number of electronic devices.

Three explicit child pornography videos were discovered on a laptop as well as 53 explicit images of child pornography and 182 child exposure images.

Further images of child pornography were discovered on a desktop computer.