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Disgraced Furniture salesman who shared vile images of children being sexually abused is jailed

Judge Richard Greene QC outlined how Sherrard had searched, downloaded and shared a video of a 'small toddler' being raped by an adult male

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Roland Sherrard appears at Antrim Court

Roland Sherrard appears at Antrim Court

Roland Sherrard appears at Antrim Court

A disgraced furniture salesman was jailed on Thursday after he admitted downloading and sharing vile images of children being sexually abused.

A woman who was with Roland Sherrard at Antrim Crown Court looked stunned as Judge Richard Greene QC, who jailed the 52-year-old for 14 months with the same period to be spent on licence, outlined how he had searched, downloaded and shared a video of a “small toddler,” just two or three years old, being raped by an adult male.

In addition Sherrard, from Castle Gardens in Limavady, was also ordered to sign the police sex offenders register for ten years after he entered guilty pleas to a total of 27 images including 16 of possessing indecent images of children, six of having extreme pornography, four of possessing prohibited images of children and a single count of distributing indecent images of children, committed between 1 January 2014 and 26 June 2018.

In an agreed statement of the facts, prosecuting counsel Suzanne Gallagher outlined how police searched Sherrard’s home under the Protection of Children Order in June 2018, seizing two laptops and an external hard drive.

In short, when the three devices were forensically examined officers uncovered 979 indecent images of children, including 147 classified at category A and 1,061 of extreme pornographic images.

Ms Gallagher detailed how officers from the e-crime unit also uncovered the fact that Sherrard had been using “peer to peer sharing software” and had used that to share a handful of images but particularly, a category A video.

According to legal guidelines material at category A depicts children involved in penetrative sexual acts, including rape, or involved in acts of sadomasochism.

In Sherrard’s case, he had both downloaded and shared category A images involving “very young children,” including toddlers, whose ages were estimated to be around two or three years old.

Arrested and interviewed, Sherrard admitted what he had done and Ms Gallagher said while that was a mitigating factor, there were also numerous aggravating features including the fact some of the images involved toddlers, he had a “significant number” of images and some of them, all with titles too graphic to repeat, had been distributed.

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Limavady Carpet fitter Roland Sherrard, had the rug pulled from under him when reporter Steven Moore confronted him

Limavady Carpet fitter Roland Sherrard, had the rug pulled from under him when reporter Steven Moore confronted him

Limavady Carpet fitter Roland Sherrard, had the rug pulled from under him when reporter Steven Moore confronted him

 

Lodging a plea in mitigation last week, defence counsel Stephen Mooney said Sherard had been subjected to the “corrupting influence of the internet at a very late stage in his life.”

“Due to financial, emotional and work related pressure he was seeking some adult material and was led to this particular outlet,” said the barrister who revealed that although the defendant’s wife was present in court that day, “she has only really in the last few days been made aware of the particular nature of what this man has done.”

“She was aware in broad strokes but he has now provided her with information of precisely what he has done over the last 72 hours,” said the lawyer, adding that Sherard “has had a bit of a break down” and had “attempted to take his own life in the teeth of this case.”

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Jailing Sherrard on Thursday, Judge Green said the distribution aspect was a “serious aggravating feature” especially as it involved a toddler, adding that the guidelines were clear when it came to such “particularly repugnant” material.

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