By Isabel Hayes
A man who was caught with thousands of child abuse images and hundreds of videos looked up taking blood from infants online, a court has heard.
The 42-year-old Dublin man was jailed today for 18 months for possessing child abuse material. He cannot be named because he is due to stand trial later this year for the alleged sexual assault of a child.
The man googled 'venipuncture' of babies, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard. Gardaí came across the term when they were analysing the man's search history after he was caught with 3,257 explicit child abuse images and 347 videos in the home he lived in with his mother in September 2017.
A further 18,500 images of pre-pubescent children were found in the man's possession, although these were not illegal, Sergeant Aoife O'Brien told Garrett McCormack BL, prosecuting.
The man pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography at his Dublin home on September 4, 2017. A further count of distributing child pornography was taken into account. This charge related to internet conversations the man had online with someone he thought was an 8-year-old boy.
He sent this person, who later turned out to be an adult, a video containing child abuse material, the court heard.
Sgt O'Brien said gardaí received a confidential tip-off that an illegal image had been uploaded from the man's address and a search warrant was obtained. After speaking with his mother, gardaí attempted to search the man's bedroom, but his door was locked.
When the man arrived home and opened the door for gardaí, they found baby nappies on the floor of his bedroom along with about 150 colour print-outs of child abuse material on the bed. The man had hundreds of DVDs on his bedroom shelves and he pointed out some that contained child abuse material to gardaí.
An analysis of his google search history found certain “proclivities” in relation to young children, the court heard. Sgt O'Brien said this included 'venipuncture' or the taking of blood from infants.
The man has no previous convictions. He denies the charge of sexual assault of a child that he is facing trial on it later this year.
Paul Green SC, defending, handed up a psychologist report to the court. He said his client was an isolated man. He had a good work history but has not worked since this offending came to light.
The man was found to be at the low range of cognitive functioning, defence counsel said. He has expressed condemnation for his actions and realises that he was complicit in making children the victims of sexual abuse. Counsel urged Judge Martin Nolan to be as lenient as possible.
Sentencing the man, Judge Nolan said it was clear that he had an unhealthy interest in children. He noted he lived a reclusive lifestyle and had been deemed at a low risk of reoffending.
The judge said the most aggravating factor was the fact the man had engaged online with someone he thought was an eight-year-old child. “It demonstrates that this defendant, at that particular time, was prepared to contact a child, which is a serious offence,” the judge said.
He handed down a sentence of 18 months.
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