May 2019

Man jailed for year for extreme child abuse images

A Portavogie man who had thousands of images and videos of kids being sexually abused and in pain has been jailed for a year.

Jailing Steven Richard Smillie at Downpatrick Crown Court and ordering him to spend a further year under supervised licence conditions, Judge Piers Grant told the 45-year-old he “should be utterly ashamed of himself.”

As well as the jail sentence, Smillie was ordered to sign the police sex offenders register for the next ten years and was banned from working with children.

“Children should be able to live their lives in total innocence, without a care in the world,” Detective Sergeant McPhillips after the hearing.

“However, there are people who choose to exploit and expose children to their dark, depraved underworld

“My message today is clear, my officers will not cease in their endeavour to catch those who exploit the most vulnerable in our society.  This conviction should serve as a warning to those who think their own activity will go unnoticed or unpunished. 

“Everyone leaves a digital footprint when downloading, viewing or making indecent images of children. We will be relentless in our pursuit of offenders and when we catch them the repercussions will be far reaching.”

Smillie, from the Springhill Road in the fishing town, had previously pleaded guilty to 14 counts of making indecent photographs or pseudo images of children, two counts of possessing a prohibited images of a child and two counts of possessing an extreme photographic image in dates between 31 May 2014 and 2 February 2017.

The court heard how Smillie was caught with over 2,000 images and at least five videos which ranged between category A, the most extreme and graphic images, category B and category C which he had downloaded to his phone.

Jailing Smillie, Judge Piers Grant condemned the content as “graphic brutal and cruel” and “demonstrated in each case that the children are in pain”.

Describing the images as “absolutely disgusting,” he said: “It’s quite clear the these children have no choice with what’s happening to them….this is something against their will.”

Judge Grant told Smillie those who viewed and download such images bear a responsibility for them by “creating a market for children to be hurt.”