Maryport convicted of possession of child abuse images
A Maryport man was forced to move out of his home after local people discovered he had been viewing child abuse images.
Michael Morrison, 48, told police that he had only described some of the images he downloaded as “nice” because he wanted to be polite as he discussed them with another man who shared his perverted interest.
At Carlisle Crown Court, the defendant, formerly of Crosby Street, Maryport, but now living at Stranraer, admitted three offences.
He pleaded guilty to distributing an indecent image of a child on September 4, 2019; downloading 24 Category B images of child abuse (the second most serious category) and a similar offence, involving 68 Category C indecent images of children.
Gerard Rogerson, prosecuting, said the offences to light in March of last year when police visited Morrison at his home and seized his iPhone.
When it was forensically examined, the officers found a total of 92 illegal child abuse images, which had been downloaded and saved on the phone. This was done between July 12, 2019, and September 4 of that year.
“All 92 images were still accessible and hadn’t been deleted,” said Mr Rogerson. “They could be viewed at any time.”
Police also found evidence of how the defendant had taken part in WhatsApp conversations with another man, in which they had acknowledged their interest in ‘perving’ over sexual images.
The men initially swapped adult pornography, said Mr Rogerson. Morrison spoke of liking 17-year-olds. But one message found on the defendant’s phone, however, showed a sexual image of a girl aged 12 or 13.
A Category C indecent image, Morrison sent it to the other man. When he was interviewed by the police, the defendant initially said he did not speak to people online.
He claimed no illegal images would be found on his phone. He said that the other man had sent him “nude images” and the people they depicted just got “younger and younger.”
Mr Rogerson said: “He told the officers that he had said that they [the images] were nice out of politeness.” Asked about the indecent child image he had sent to the other man, Morrison claimed he believed the child was 17.
Judge Nicholas Barker said he felt there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation for Morrison and that the right sentence was an 18 month community order, with 25 rehabilitation activity days.
As punishment, the defendant must complete 150 hours of unpaid work. He will be on the Sex Offender Register for five years.