Man blames boredom for ‘abhorrent’ child porn stash

A MAN who downloaded child pornography claimed he had no sexual interest in children and only accessed the disturbing content out of boredom.

An Ipswich court this week heard the married man had led a blameless life, which ended the day Ipswich CIB detectives knocked on his door with a search warrant in front of his disbelieving wife.

Thousands of images were found, although only 940 were easily accessible, Ipswich District Court heard.

Christopher Edward Merritt, 50, pleaded guilty to knowingly possessing child exploitation material at Ipswich on June 12, 2019.

Crown prosecutor Kate Gover said when detectives arrived, Merritt co-operated with them, asking to speak with them privately.

A desktop computer and storage devices were seized. More than 4600 images were detected.

The court heard Merritt went to hospital for three days suffering a mental health breakdown due to stress.

Merritt told officers he used Bittorrent sharing software to download adult pornography and that some of it had been different to what was described.

Merritt said he deleted it, and that he held concerns about others hacking into his computer and putting material there.

Ms Gover said 1932 images were categorised as being child exploitation material, the majority in the lowest category 1.

She said it was concerning that there were a number of images in the more serious category 4 and category 5.

She described one of the disturbing category 5 images as "particularly abhorrent".

Judge Dennis Lynch QC said what was significant was that only 929 images were accessible photos.

There were also 226 accessible videos.

Ms Gover said medical and psychologist reports suggested that Merritt would benefit from ongoing professional therapeutic treatment.

She noted that a report found Merritt recognised the offending committed against children, and stated "they are victimised people. I can see that now".

He was found in a psychologists report not be sexually attracted to children.

Defence barrister Shane McDowell sought a wholly suspended jail term.

He said that Merritt's wife of 26 years continued to give support and attended counselling with him.

Mr McDowell said Merritt became addicted to adult pornography and it "became a fixation rather than sexual gratification".

Judge Lynch said more than 4600 images were located on the devices and hard drive with only 929 accessible.

There were also 228 videos.

"Significantly you have taken genuine steps at rehabilitation. A proper approach," he said.

"You present a low risk of reoffending.

"It is clear in the reports you were viewing adult pornography, became obsessed. Led to downloading child pornography.

"You have expressed shame and remorse, and demonstrated insight and awareness.

"You are not sexually attracted to children. Not diagnosed with paedophilia."

Merritt was sentenced to an 18-month jail term, immediately suspended for two years.



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