Laurence Cassidy – Widnes/Maghull
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Jail for child porn Ashworth manager
A FORMER manager at Ashworth high security hospital has been jailed for nine months for downloading child porn on his computer.
Laurence Cassidy, 42, was convicted last month at Liverpool Crown Court for possessing 118 indecent images of children.
The father-of-two, who worked as a logistics manager,had left a computer disc containing the illegal images in a car used by workers at Ashworth hospital.
One of Cassidy’s colleagues found the disc on January 8 last year,and,following hospital policy, handed it to the computer department.
When the images were discovered, Cassidy was immediately suspended from duty and arrested.
A computer expert discovered the disc contained 1,800 porn pictures, which had been downloaded from the internet.
Among them were 118 indecent photographs of children.
Cassidy’s trial heard he kept the images on a CD-ROM in order to prevent his wife and children seeing them on the hard drive of the family computer.
Cassidy, of Hall Avenue, Widnes, viewed the images when his wife was out playing badminton and his two sons,aged seven and 10 were in bed.
The court heard Cassidy had experience in building computers and had advertised offering a computer maintenance service. He had always denied knowingly downloading child porn and had insisted it had been saved by accident.
But the jury rejected his claims. Geoffrey Lowe,defending, told the court Cassidy had accepted the verdict,but said he had never paid to subscribe to any child porn websites.
As a result of his conviction, Cassidy resigned from Ashworth hospital.
Mr Lowe said: “There has been a profound and deep effect on this defendant and his family.
“He has lost everything. His job has gone and his personal circumstances have taken an absolute battering.
“This was not a victimless offence -he recognises that.”
He added that Cassidy’s children had had to change schools because of parents’ reactions to his conviction.
As well as jailing Cassidy for nine months, Judge William George yesterday disqualified him from working with children and ordered him to sign the Sex Offenders’Register for the rest of his life.
Judge George told Cassidy: “There is no evidence that you took part in the onward distribution of the images for financial profit,but this offence is so serious only custody is justified.”
As Cassidy was led away, his wife sobbed in the public gallery.
A spokesman for Merseycare NHS Trust, which runs Ashworth hospital, said: “Mr Cassidy was suspended immediately after the allegation came to light.
“The disciplinary process had commenced,but once a guilty verdict was recorded against him,he resigned.”
Dad guilty of downloading child porn
A LOGISTICS manager at Ashworth Special Hospital at Maghull has been convicted of possessing child porn.
A Liverpool Crown Court jury took less than an hour to find Laurence Cassidy guilty of possessing the images, which he had downloaded from the Internet.
Remanding him on bail to enable a pre-sentence report to be prepared Judge William George told 42-year-old Cassidy that all sentencing options, including custody would be open when he returns on October 17.
He also ordered Cassidy, of Hall Avenue, Widnes, who is currently suspended from work, to sign the Sex Offenders Register.
Cassidy showed no emotion when the verdict was returned.
During the four-day trial the court heard that the offence came to light after Cassidy accidentally left behind the CD-Rom containing the images in a works car and a colleague found it.
For security reasons at Ashworth it is policy for any such items to be examined and it was handed to their computer department, said Peter Davies, prosecuting.
The police were informed and when the CD was analysed it was found to contain mainly adult pornography, some videos and 230 indecent images of children, of which 80 were inaccessible, as they had been deleted.
When interviewed Cassidy admitted having an interest in adult porn and, so that his family could not access it from his computer, he downloaded it straight onto a CD.
He explained he used software, which downloaded all the site contents onto the disc in a couple of minutes rather than laboriously downloading image after image.
He told the court that he had not knowingly downloaded child porn and the court heard that the case has ‘destroyed’ his life and embarrassed his family.
Cassidy had pleaded not guilty to possessing indecent pseudo-photographs on January 8 last year.