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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee