Chef to be sentenced for child abuse images found in Kerrykeel house

October 27, 2022

A chef caught with a stash of child abuse pornography at his rented home in Kerrykeel is to be sentenced at Letterkenny Circuit Court.

Donard McLarnon was forced to leave his home after locals heard of his arrest on July 18, 2019.

The swoop, organised as part of Operation Ketch, set up to identify suspects downloading child pornography, was organised after McLarnon’s IP address showed up to officers.

Gardaí recovered an iPhone 6 from the back of a sofa in the house.

Detective Garda Eugene Organ said he found two movies and 86 photos on the phone.

The movies and a number of the pictures were classed as Category 4 of Child Pornography which are deemed among the most serious of such offences against children.

Barrister for McLarnon, Ms Fiona Crawford BL, said the case of the accused was ‘a curiosity that became an addiction’.

“He tried at times to stop and wouldn’t access child pornography, but out of compulsion he started again,” Ms Crawford said.

“He was immersed in a fantasy world of meeting consenting adults for sexual needs.”

Addiction issues were outlined in a probation and welfare report, Ms Crawford said. The report highlighted issues McLarnon had with his sexual identity with the accused reporting himself as meta sexual.

Originally from Belfast, McLarnon became ostracised from his brother after these issues came to light.

McLarnon was working in Donegal and residing in Kerrykeel at the time. Ms Crawford told the court that McLarnon was ‘chased from the community’.

He was remanded in custody after being unable to provide an address.

Ms Crawford said: “He lost the support of his family, his friends and his home; he had nowhere to live. He resided for a period of time in his car.”

The 53-year-old McLarnon has been in custody since May 30, 2022 after bail was revoked. Gardai found him living in his car in Galway and arrested him on foot of a bench warrant. McLarnon has a property in Kilkenny, but has not been able to live there since these matters entered the public domain.

Ms Crawford told the court that McLarnon’s marriage of 20 years broke down and the accused had issues with drugs and alcohol.

McLarnon, who has no previous convictions, felt ‘remorse and shame’ over the offences, his barrister added.

John John Aylmer remanded McLarnon in custody until tomorrow (Friday), October 28, when he will sentence the accused.