A notorious paedophile who previously abused a number of young boys has been jailed for 12 months after Gardai raided his home and found 334 images of naked children on a laptop computer.

Hugh McBride has numerous convictions for sexually assaulting children in England and has served a number of jail sentences.

He returned to live in Co Donegal a number of years ago and was on the sex offenders register which required him to sign on at Letterkenny Garda station every six weeks.

McBride, 61, was caught with the naked pictures after telling Gardai about plans by other paedophiles to “share” a young boy in Co Cork.

He appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography on his laptop computer at his rented home in Oldtown, Letterkenny.

McBride had been contacted by another sex offender whom he met in Dublin’s Arbour Hill Prison while on remand.

However, when he contacted McBride he asked him if he wanted to “share” an 11-year-old boy whom he had identified in Cork.

McBride declined but reported the incident to Gardai.

Gardai in Letterkenny decided to raid his house and recovered a laptop computer and other items from the house.

The laptop was sent to the Garda’s Cybercrime Unit in Dublin and it was found to contain 334 child pornography images, many of which had been taken from a nudist website.

The images were of naked children who were not being sexually abused and were at the lower end of the scale of seriousness, the court was told.

When arrested and interviewed on February 10th, 2017 the accused said he had taken the pictures from ‘nudist sites’ and remarked: “that to me is not child porn.”

When asked by interviewing Gardai if he had a sexual interest in boys he replied: “Yes, it never goes away.”

The court was told that McBride lives a “pathetic” lifestyle and that he had been moved on from three houses when people found out about his past.

The barrister for the accused, Mr Shane Costello, said his client had significant previous convictions and is already subject to a lifelong monitoring on the sex offenders register.

He added “He always took responsibility for the images. It is to his credit that underneath all of this he went to the Gardai to report a far more serious crime, potentially of a boy aged 11 being shared about Cork city.

“He still chose to go to Gardai and told them they needed to do something about it.”

He also said his client was not buying the images of the children but that he was managing his own depravity by using images freely available to control his urges.

“He now appreciates that even this is a crime and not a victimless crime,” added Mr Costelloe.

Judge John Aylmer was told that the accused had previous convictions and he was told he had a number in England going back to the 80s and 90s.

These crimes included gross indecency against young children, taking indecent photographs of young children and indecent assault for which McBride had served substantial jail sentences.

On one occasion McBride was extradited from Ireland back to England to face a further trial there and was again found guilty and jailed.

Judge John Aylmer said the maximum sentence for such an offence was five years in jail but he considered this case to merit a sentence of 18 months in jail.

Passing sentence he considered the images were at the lower end of the scale and was satisfied that the images were not taken from a porn website, were not purchased and were not shared with others.

However, he said the most “impressive” mitigating factor in the case was the fact that McBride had contacted Gardai about plans by another person to “share” an 11-year-old boy in Co Cork.

Because of this, he had to consider suspending any sentence at all.

However, because of his previous convictions, Judge Aylmer said he was imposing a sentence of 12 months in jail.

The court was also told that a probation report on McBride said he showed a high risk of reoffending in the long term and a moderate risk of reoffending in the next 12 months.


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