Northern Ireland

Ex-PSNI officer jailed over indecent images of children

Robert Jason Ainscough, 34, was sentenced at Craigavon Crown Court Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Robert Jason Ainscough, 34, was sentenced at Craigavon Crown Court

A former police officer has been sentenced to 13 and a half months after pleading guilty to misconduct in public office and possession of more than 16,000 indecent images of children.

Robert Jason Ainscough, 34, was sentenced at Craigavon Crown Court.

In 2016, a woman made police aware of images he had sent her of himself while on duty. After this, a number of his electronic devices were seized.

The judge said Ainscough was a "disgraced man".

The court heard Ainscough had consensually exchanged explicit messages with three women while on duty.

Some of the images were taken at Lurgan and Banbridge police stations, as well as in a police vehicle.

No formal complaint was made by any of the women involved.

'Lost his career'

The court also heard Ainscough had used the police computer to access personal details of one woman without legitimate reason, that he had shared a confidential incident log with another as well as sharing confidential details of an individual to a third woman.

Analysis of 10 devices owned by Ainscough, who is originally from Dublin, but whose address was given as Lurgan police station, also uncovered 16,681 indecent images of children.

The vast majority were described as being at the lower level Category C, with eight Category B items.

Ainscough has already been dismissed from the PSNI.

He will now serve half of his sentence in prison with the remainder on licence.

In addition, he will be subject to a 10-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order and disqualified from working with children.

The judge said Ainscough had "lost his career, his good character and the respect he would have had in the community".

In a statement after the sentencing, PSNI Det Ch Insp Lee McNevison described it as "a serious crime, and more shocking given the individual's prior occupation".

"I hope this sentencing sends out a clear message to anyone, no matter what their profession, who thinks they can get away with this type of crime.

"We will work tirelessly to bring offenders before the courts so that victims receive the justice they deserve."

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