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in hiding Ex-creche worker convicted of distributing child abuse videos deletes social media accounts

Grandmother sent videos of baby and of young boy being sexually abused to WhatsApp group

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Evelyn Ajie is appealing her sentence for sending sex abuse videos of children to WhatsApp group

Evelyn Ajie is appealing her sentence for sending sex abuse videos of children to WhatsApp group

Evelyn Ajie is appealing her sentence for sending sex abuse videos of children to WhatsApp group

A former crèche worker convicted of distributing child pornography via a WhatsApp messaging group deleted her Facebook page a day after her conviction.

Evelyn Ajie was released on bail this week after she pleaded guilty to distributing child abuse videos she received in a WhatsApp group and was sentenced to nine months in jail.

The 51-year-old did not respond to a letter left at her address or come to the door when the Sunday World called to her Cork home this week.

And she deleted her social media profile on Facebook on Wednesday after we messaged her to request a comment on her case.

Prior to the deletion of her page, a post could be observed in which Ajie posted a picture of herself alongside one of Jesus under the headline: 'Which Biblical character are you?'

Underneath the pictures, a message read: "Evelyn, you are … Jesus Christ.

"You've sacrificed so much for the people you love.

"Even though there are times when you feel they don't appreciate all the things you do for them, your feelings for them remain the same."

On Tuesday, appearing before Cork District Court, the former childcare worker was jailed for nine months for distributing vile child abuse images including a video involving the abuse of a small baby.

The court heard that gardaí were alerted to the offensive images forwarded by grandmother and mother-of-four Ajie by the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and IT giants Google.

Ajie - of Clifton Terrace, Summerhill North Cork and formerly from Nigeria - received the images as part of a WhatsApp group with members across Europe and Africa including Italy, Spain and Nigeria.

She pleaded guilty to three charges before Judge Olann Kelleher at Cork District Court.

Two charges included that she knowingly distributed child abuse images for the purpose of publication, exportation or show on September 1, 2019 and October 5, 2019.

The third charge was that she knowingly had in her possession three videos described as child abuse images and which were stored on an electronic device.

Garda Sergeant Pat Lyons said it was a very unusual case.

Ajie received the child abuse videos, which involved the sexual abuse of a baby and a pre-pubescent boy of 12, as part of the WhatsApp group and then forwarded them to others.

The matter was brought to Garda attention last year by NCMEC and Google.

Gardaí acted immediately and seized Ajie's Samsung Galaxy phone.

Defence solicitor Pat Horan explained that his client, who was born in Nigeria, had lived in Ireland for 18 years.

She is a grandmother and had worked in a crèche between 2012 and 2015 before having to quit the work on health grounds.

He told the court she is now housebound because of chronic ill health.

She has severe arthritis which makes any movement difficult and also suffers from cataracts.

Mr Horan said his client was terribly upset by what had occurred.

He stressed that she made voluntary statements to gardaí and fully accepted her culpability.

Mr Horan pointed out that Ajie has no previous convictions and deeply regretted what had happened.

serious

However, Judge Kelleher warned that the matter was extremely serious and pointed out that the defendant "knew exactly what she was doing".

He noted the matter involved was not a simple mistake or a once-off incident.

Judge Kelleher warned that it was not a victimless crime and that the court had a duty of care to the unfortunate victims in the matter.

He said the serious nature of the offences involved had to be marked by a custodial sentence.

Ajie - who has four children and eight grandchildren - was jailed for nine months.

Judge Kelleher refused to suspend any portion of the sentence.

Ajie has lodged an appeal against her nine month sentence.

She lodged €500 in a bond and was released on bail pending the hearing of the appeal.

Judge Kelleher adjourned the matter until tomorrow.

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