Policeman with 5,000 child abuse images and rape videos is jailed

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The Independent Online

A pervert police officer who downloaded over 5,000 sickening images of child abuse, including four movies of a young girl being raped, has been jailed for three years.

Jailing 32-year-old Aaron William Ernest Payne at Belfast Crown Court, Judge Tom Burgess told the former officer the images revealed “abhorrent, grossly intensive and disgusting acts of sexual depravity” being committed against children as young as five years old and no older than 12.

“They do not live in Northern Ireland,” said the judge, “but they have the same right to protection and a normal, happy upbringing, but instead they have been subjected to acts which have destroyed their childhood and will destroy their adulthood - somewhere out there they are struggling to survive the assaults and this degrading behaviour.”

Earlier he heard that officers raided Payne's former home at Ballyhenry Crescent in Newtownabbey last July and seized his computer for examination.

Prosecuting lawyer Kate McKay said when Payne was arrested later that day at Armagh PSNI station he told officers that if he had known they were coming “he would have shot himself”.

His former colleagues were so concerned about Payne's mental health that they seized his personal protection firearm and the lawyer added that when he was charged and cautioned Payne replied: “I'm very sorry. I can't forgive myself and I don't think anybody else will be able to forgive me. I have done a terrible thing, I can't live with myself.”

During later police interviews Payne told officers that initially he had viewed adult pornography but had accidentally came upon indecent images of children and had gone back to view them through a file-sharing website from September 2007.

Payne claimed he would view the images and then delete them and although he was “fully aware” of the consequences “he could not stop”.

He later pleaded guilty to 25 counts of making indecent images of children on dates between February and April 2008. Defence lawyer Gavin Duffy said that by looking at these sickening images, Payne had lost his job, his career and his relationship, as well as his “reputation and good-standing”.

In handing down the jail term, Judge Burgess ordered that instead of being released on remission Payne is released on licence with the terms of it being set by the Secretary of State so he can receive psychological counselling.

As well as the jail term Payne was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life and was banned from working with children.

Judge Burgess told Payne that although he was not involved in any of the actual abuse or had sent the images out to anybody else “the role he plays only acts as a spur of encouragement to those who make money out of the misery of these children”.

“I again take the opportunity to warn those minded to engage in this type of activity that there is now a sophisticated system of oversight on these sites by police forces internationally. The chances of discovery are increasing all the time and the consequences will be appearances in this court with the full power to reflect that culpability,” declared the judge.