Shropshire Star

Teenager who had thousands of indecent images of children on phones gets suspended sentence

A Powys teenager who had indecent images of children, some only a few months old, on his phone has received a suspended prison sentence.

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Nicholas John McGuchan had 3,475 images, some described as "the very worst sort" on two mobile phones when he was arrested in January 2022.

But the 19 year-old of School Meadows, Llanbister avoided being sent to a young offenders’ institute because the judge believed there is a ‘real prospect of rehabilitation’.

McGuchan admitted three charges of making indecent images of children between March 8 of 2018 and January 6 of 2022, when he was aged between 14 and 18.

Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court was told on Wednesday that there were 519 images of Category A – the most serious. Another 473 were Category B and 2,483 were category C.

Prosecuting, Mr Peter Donninson said Dyfed-Powys Police officers executed a search warrant on January 5, 2022 and found two black smartphones containing images in a cloud storage platform.

He said: “The defendant was in bed when officers entered his bedroom. Passwords to both devices were provided by him. In custody he made no reply to caution and provided a no comment interview.

“There were images of multiple female children aged between six and eight,” he said. “Some images contained very young children of just a few months old.

“There were key word searches for indecent images and terms including child pornography.”

He said McGuchan had no previous convictions.

Mitigating, Mr John Ryan said: “He admits he fell down a hole and got rather entwined in it. He accepts his wrongdoing and he is deeply ashamed by it.”

Mr Ryan said McGuchan had the full support of his parents and his mother had recently stepped down from a social care managerial role and gone back to work as an adult support worker to have more time to keep her son ‘on the straight and narrow’.

Judge Richard Twomlow said: “He is unusually young to be facing this type of charges. I have read a letter from him and his parents and it seems he is prepared to face up to the fact he has problems.

“There were a very large number of images of the very worst sort.

“I am satisfied that there is a real prospect of rehabilitation.”

McGuchan was given a total sentence of eight months at a young offenders’ institute, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 40 days of rehabilitation activities and the Horizon programme which targets issues of problem- solving, self-regulation, relationships, sexual attitudes and behaviours.

He will also be subject to a notification requirement for 10 years and he will also be made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.

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