July 2022

Paedophile was caught with hundreds of sick images of child abuse and bestiality


A paedophile was caught with hundreds of sick images of child abuse and bestiality on his phones as well as a story depicting a “sexual fantasy” about a drunken schoolgirl being raped

Jonathon Byrne, 34, was arrested at home on January 9 last year when officers arrived with a search warrant.

Jamie Baxter, prosecuting at Liverpool Crown Court on Wednesday, said the unit from Cheshire Police’s online child abuse investigation team seized two Samsung phones and took Byrne, of Widnes, into custody for questioning.

Byrne confirmed his personal details but denied having seen any indecent image of a child or having any sexual interest in children. He claimed he didn’t believe any such matter would be found on his devices

Mr Baxter told the court: “How wrong he was.”

After initially being released under investigation, Byrne was interviewed again on November 5, when he gave “no comment” answers to detectives after a “large number” of abuse images were found on his phones.

In total, there were 283 images and six videos in Category A – the most serious type, 270 still and six moving images in Category B, 186 images and 14 videos in Category C, plus 24 still images and 40 videos of “extreme pornography” – namely of bestiality.

Listing aggravating case features to the court, Mr Baxter said the abuse images showed “very young children” enduring “gross sexual acts”, and in “discernible pain or distress”.

The “sexual fantasy” story, stored in the notes section of one of his phones, had a creation date of March 3, 2019, and depicted an incident from the storyteller’s viewpoint in which they were engaging in penetrative sexual activity with – “or indeed raping” – a drunken schoolgirl under 16 years of age.

Mr Baxter said “no offence arose” as a result of the depraved tale and there was no suggestion it was based on real abuse, but would be relevant when considering a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).

Byrne pleaded guilty at the first opportunity to one count of possessing indecent images of children, three of making child abuse images, and one count of possessing extreme pornography. The word “making” refers to the act of obtaining or downloading such material.

Recorder Mark Ainsworth said the volume and nature of the images were too serious for a suspended sentence as he jailed Byrne for 16 months to be served immediately.

He said some of the abuse victims featured in the sick haul were “as young as between five and seven” years of age and in pain.

During his sentencing remarks, Recorder Ainsworth said: “The important point to remember in these cases is: behind every image is a child being sexually abused.

“Behind every image is a victim of sexual abuse, and here we are concerned with hundreds of images, and one has to assume if there was not a market for these images from people like you that much or all of this abuse would not take place.

“That’s why the courts take such a serious view of these offences.”

He added: “It seems to me the nature of the images and the number of the images in these offences are so serious that only a period of immediate imprisonment can be justified.”

The judge also imposed a Sexual Harm Prevention Order to last 10 years, alongside placing Byrne on the sex offenders register for the same length of time.