A Belfast school caretaker caught with almost 1,000 indecent images and videos of children was today jailed for nine months.
Mark Moan (43) pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court to 14 counts of making indecent indecent images and seven charges of possessing extreme pornographic images between July 5, 2011 and September 9, 2011.
Belfast Crown Court heard that during a police raid on Mark Moan’s home, which cannot be reported for legal reasons, officers found images of children as young as six being sexually abused by adults and animals.
Prosecuting lawyer Tessa Kitson told the court the the PSNI received information in September 2011 that somebody at Moan’s home in Belfast was involved in “making indecent photographs of children” through computer activity.
She said she could not divulge how police had uncovered Moan’s activities but said that it was “connected to other people”.
Deputy Belfast Recorder Judge Corinne Philpott QC heard that Moan was at work when detectives called to search his home on foot of the information that someone at the address was accessing indecent images of children.
The defendant later returned home and while officers were explaining to him the nature of the search, Moan said: “These did come up”, the court heard.
A computer was seized from a bedroom which was found to contain 187 pictures and video files. Nine video files contained bestiality with adults and children.
Ms Kitson told the court: “A second computer was seized in the living room and police recovered 746 pictures and video files depicting extreme pornographic images involving bestiality with adults and children.”
She told Judge Philpott QC that some of the images were in two of the most serious catergories of child sex abuse images, including 72 in level four and five in level five.
Defence barrister Mark Farrell said Moan has been suspended from his post as a school caretaker and would now lose his job.
He told the court that Moan started looking at the images for his own “sexual gratification” after the breakdown of his marriage and was drinking heavily.
However, he denied that the father-of-one was part of any ‘ring’ or was involved in distributing the pictures and videos to others.
The defence lawyer said that as a result of the charges, Moan could only speak to his young daughter by telephone once a week.
A probation report stated that Moan would need to go on a sex offenders awareness programme for three years as a result of the images uncovered.
“It is clear that this is someone who needs help,” added Mr Farrell.
Judge Philpott QC said some of the images she had viewed were of children who were at least six years of age and others were of an age similar to Moan’s daughter.
“This is a bad case. No child should be subjected to what I have viewed.”
Moan was sentenced to two years, with nine months to be spent in custody and 15 months on licence following his release.