Shannon mum's partner denies porn charges

Police searching for the missing schoolgirl Shannon Matthews found more than 100 indecent images of children on a computer belonging to her mother's then partner, a court heard today.

Detectives seized Craig Meehan's computer from the home he shared with Karen Matthews on Moorside Road, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire the day after Shannon went missing in February, a district judge was told.

The nine-year-old was found 24 days after she vanished.

Today, prosecutor David Holderness outlined the case against Meehan at his trial at Dewsbury Magistrate's Court.

Mr Holderness said Meehan faced charges which referred to 134 indecent images of children.

He said 133 of these were found on a second-hand computer Meehan had bought in 2006.

The other was found on Meehan's mobile phone, the prosecutor said.

He said 16 of the images have been classified as level four in a scale which runs from one to five and in which five is the most serious.

The majority of the images were classified as level one with others at level two and three.

Mr Holderness said Meehan had pointed the finger at other people who had used his password-protected computer.

The prosecutor said: "There are substantial amounts of material which, when put together, provide a convincing and overwhelming picture that it was Mr Meehan who was the person who downloaded the relevant materials."

Mr Holderness said part of the prosecution case would be matching the times at which the images were downloaded with fishmonger Meehan's work record.

Meehan, 22, denied 11 charges of possessing indecent images of children.

At the beginning of the trial today he was asked again if he continued to deny the allegations.

As the proceedings unfolded he sat in the dock flanked by two security guards sporting closely shaved hair and glasses.

He was wearing a padded sports coat over a black Manchester United away shirt.

The trial, which continues, is expected to last five days.



The court heard how police seized the computer along with another from the house in Moorside Road on February 20, initially to help them with their search for Shannon.

Mr Holderness said it was only when the machine was thoroughly examined that the indecent images were found.

The prosecutor said Meehan bought the computer from the Brighthouse store in Dewsbury in September 2006.

He said it was second-hand but the firm had wiped it clean.

Mr Holderness said extensive inquiries had taken place into the nature and thoroughness of this cleaning process but he said he was confident he could persuade the court "all of the images were not on the computer prior to the purchase by Mr Meehan".

The prosecutor said that, when interviewed by the police, Meehan did not deny the images were indecent or appear to have any disagreement over the levels of seriousness officers had classified them in.

But the court heard how Meehan did make some comment about police being sure of the ages of those featured in some of the images.

The court heard how 16 of the images were classified as level four, 11 as level three, 19 as level two and 83 as level one.



Mr Holderness told the court it was "extremely unlikely" that anyone other than Meehan was responsible for downloading the images on to the computer.

He said the images were all downloaded while Meehan was not at work.

"What the Crown would say was that the number of downloads when he's not at work make it extremely unlikely that someone else has accessed both Mr Meehan's house and his computer to carry out the downloads in question."

Mr Holderness added that two images were downloaded within 30 minutes of a file sharing program being installed on the computer.

He said it was likely that the same person was responsible for installing the software and downloading the images and that person was likely to be the owner of the computer.

Mr Holderness told the court that the image found on Meehan's mobile phone, believed to be of a 15-year-old girl, had come from his computer.

The court heard that, during police interviews, Meehan denied using the computer to access any type of pornography.

He later admitted viewing adult pornography after police found adult pornographic videos in his bedroom.

Mr Holderness said: "It was only when confronted with that evidence that Mr Meehan began to change his tune."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent