A disgraced furniture salesman was jailed Thursday after admitting to uploading and sharing vile images of sexually abused children.
a woman who was with Roland Sherrard at Antrim Crown Court looked stunned as Judge Richard Greene QC, who jailed the 52-year-old man for 14 months with the same period to be licensed, explained how he had searched, uploaded and shared a video of a “little toddler”, barely two or three years old, raped by an adult male.
In addition, Sherrard, of Castle Gardens in Limavady, was also ordered to sign the police sex offender register for ten years after pleading guilty to a total of 27 images, including 16 of possession of indecent images of ‘children, six of extreme pornography, four of possession of prohibited images of children and one count of disseminating indecent images of children, committed between January 1, 2014 and June 26, 2018.
In an agreed statement of facts, prosecution lawyer Suzanne Gallagher explained how police raided Sherrard’s home under the child protection order in June 2018, seizing two laptops and an external hard drive.
In short, during the forensic examination of the three devices, officers discovered 979 indecent images of children, including 147 classified as Category A and 1,061 extreme pornographic images.
Ms Gallagher explained how officers from the Cybercrime Unit also discovered that Sherrard was using ‘peer-to-peer sharing software’ and had used it to share a handful of images, but in particular a video. category A.
According to legal guidelines, Category A material depicts children involved in penetrative sexual acts, including rape, or involved in acts of sadomasochism.
In Sherrard’s case, he had both uploaded and shared Category A footage involving “very young children,” including toddlers, estimated to be around two or three years old.
Arrested and questioned, Sherrard admitted what he had done and Ms Gallagher said that while this was a mitigating factor, there were also many aggravating features, including the fact that some of the images involved toddlers, it had a “significant number” of images and some of them, all with titles too graphic to repeat, had been distributed.
Making a plea for mitigation last week, defense lawyer Stephen Mooney said Sherard had been subjected to “the corrupt Internet influence at a very late stage in his life.”
“Due to financial, emotional and professional pressures he was looking for adult material and was taken to this particular outlet,” said the lawyer who revealed that although the accused’s wife was present in court on that day there, “she really has only in the last few days been made aware of the peculiar nature of what this man has been up to.
“She was basically aware of it but he has now provided her with information on precisely what he has been doing in the last 72 hours,” the attorney said, adding that Sherard “had a little seizure” and had “tried to kill himself in the teeth of this case.
In jailing Sherrard on Thursday, Judge Green said the aspect of the cast was a “serious aggravating feature”, especially since it involved a toddler, adding that the guidelines were clear regarding this material. “particularly disgusting”.