Northern Ireland

Prison officer gets probation over 2,000 indecent images

Justice
Image caption William Moore had pleaded guilty to 17 offences of possessing indecent images of children

A prison officer who admitted possessing more than 2,000 indecent images of girls aged 10 to 16 has been put on probation for three years.

Former principal prison officer William Moore, 62, of Bellevue Drive, Lisburn, was arrested last August.

The offences came to light after an intelligence-led police search of Moore's home, during which two computers were seized.

The judge also fined Moore £2,000 for possession of level four images.

Craigavon Crown Court sitting in Belfast heard how he had previously received a community services medal.

Moore admitted the existence of the images, including movie files, to police at the scene with 118 images uncovered on one machine and 1,929 on the second computer.

The prosecution said that although Moore had not viewed them since 2008 and had in fact deleted them at that time, a forensic examination of the computers revealed that a "large number" of the images had been in the level one category with some in levels three and four.

Stigma

Imposing the three-year probation programme, Judge Gemma Loughran said she accepted Moore had not viewed the material since 2008 when he had last logged on and that he had admitted his actions to police when they came to his home.

He had later pleaded guilty to 17 offences of possessing indecent images of children on dates between 22 December 2007 and 24 August last year.

Moore "bitterly regretted and remains deeply embarrassed by his actions" the judge told the court, adding that he had "served his country" as a prison officer, latterly as a principal prison officer, for 31 years and had been awarded the Imperial Service Medal for services to the community.

"However, the stigma of what you did will remain with you for the rest of your life and the offences of possession of images relating to children are not victimless offences, as the children have been subjected to appalling assaults on their innocence to enable these images to be taken," she said.

"You had a large number of these images at level one for your signal use and some at levels three and four, and the aggravating factor is the damage done to these young children."

Destroyed

Judge Loughran accepted a probation service recommendation that Moore spend three years on probation during which he must undertake a series of programmes to enable him to deal with his behaviour and stop him re-engaging in similar activity.

"You should pay back to the community in some way for what you have taken out, in the broadest sense," the judge said.

She also ordered the images be destroyed from the computers and either the computers or the profits from their sale be donated to a children's charity.

Under the terms of the eight-year sexual offences prevention order ruling, Moore must not have any contact or work with young children under the age of 18 without supervision, and he must allow police access to his computer at any time.