Trainee cop who downloaded child abuse pics escapes prison after judge says jailing him would be ‘drain’ on public resources
Peter McIlduff downloaded 500 child abuse images between 2015 and 2018
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A trainee policeman who downloaded the ‘worst form’ of child abuse has avoided prison after a judge suggested jailing him would be a ‘drain’ on public money.
Peter McIlduff, 39, was arrested after detectives learnt he was communicating with a known paedophile in an internet chat room where child abuse pictures and films were traded.
Officers seized a laptop from McIlduff’s locker at Wythenshawe Police station plus other devices from his rented digs in Stockport and found 500 explicit pictures of youngsters being abused – including 69 ‘category A’ images, described by the judge as the ‘worst form of this deprived filth’.
Various phrases were found in conjunction with the images including ’13 year old paedo-children porn’.
The pictures were downloaded over a three-year period between 2015 and 2018 although McIlduff who operated under the pseudonym ‘DreamCatcher003’ said he had deleted them before he started his formal training with Greater Manchester Police .
He has since sought counselling.
At Minshull Street Crown Court, McIlduff, from Halifax, West Yorks pleaded guilty to making and possessing indecent images of a child and was given 12 months jail suspended for two years. He will also enroll on a two-year Sex Offenders programme.
Judge Paul Lawton told him: ”You are a convicted paedophile and you acknowledge that yourself but you have attended to getting assistance of a sort which stops you from going to custody. You have also pleaded guilty and accept you want help for your genuine real issues, namely your attraction to underage children.
“As there has been a rise in defendants going to prison, there is a drain on resources and staff. Had you been given immediate imprisonment, you would have been released after six months from custody and you would not have received the service that can help you in custody and you would have received no assistance. Therefore I can suspend that sentence.”
He added: ”Looking at a man in your position, you had a good record. You were going to be a police officer prior to this crime in which child pornography was found between March 2015 and March 2018 – you downloaded many many indecent images of children, 69 of which were category A images, which is the worst form of this deprived filth.
HOW ARE OFFENDERS SENTENCED?
“From over a three-year period you abused images of children between the ages of three and 15. These were generally of a category of depravity which you used for your own sexual satisfaction.
“Each of those individual children is the victim of appalling abuse by the photographer and all will suffer long term harm psychologically culminating from that abuse. Every one of those images is on the internet forever to be abused, there is a market for this and it is made for customers and you are one of those customers.”
Earlier Duncan Wilcock, prosecuting, said: “Matters first came to light when a conversation took place between September 26 and 27 last year between the user ‘DreamCatcher003’ and a third party on a website.
“That conversation was of a sexual nature considering interest towards children. That particular website, is a website that police know to be used by people that have interest in children and that is used to trade indecent material.
“For that reason, police made enquiries as to who ‘DreamCatcher003’ was registered to and who the users details were. Those enquiries led to identification of an address in Stockport.
“Police attended the address and it was discovered this defendant was a lodger of that accommodation and a number of exhibits were seized including a laptop, four phones and tablets. The defendant was not present but he was located and a further four items were seized at his place of work.
”From those items seized, indecent images were found. Included in these items was a pen drive, which was recovered from his bedroom. A laptop device was recovered from his place of work at Wythenshawe Police station.
“He was a training police officer. He had potential access to children and vulnerable adults. Those items were subject of analysis. In total, there were 69 accessible category A images found, and 64 further images were inaccessible.
“There were 19 accessible category B images and 121 inaccessible images, and there were 132 category C accessible images and 419 inaccessible images. They had been accessed but not all were accessible. Some had been deleted.
“The age range of these children was from 3 years old to 15 years old. The majority of the images were children aged between 8 and 12. There were a mix of both still images and moving images.
“Once all of the images were discovered, the defendant was arrested and interviewed. In that interview he made certain admissions about the images that had been found. He did persist about the matter that the last time he accessed the images was January 2018, he believed it had been deleted. He made certain admissions within that interview.
“I ask you to consider the position he was in and was going through. He was becoming a police officer when these images were found.”
Jon Close, defending, said McIlduff had gone for counselling about his behaviour.
He added: ”Let me make this clear, he wasn’t training to be a police officer at the time. It was, at most, an application that had been made. The training hadn’t started but when the training started, he made the decision to delete those images.
“He did make full admissions in his interview and has done that which he can since the walls came crashing down. He is demonstrating that he accepts responsibility and is in no way trying to compromise or diminish his behaviour. He accepts exactly why he was looking at the images, he wants to stop.”
McIlduff was also ordered to sign the Sex Offender Register for five years and made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.