A Ballyroney man addicted to child pornography, who admitted having sex with the family dog and fantasising about his own children, has been jailed for ten months.
After serving the jail term, Newry Crown Court Judge Kevin Finnegan QC ordered 43-year-old Garth Michael Williams to spend two years on supervised licence conditions, “in order to make progress with his longstanding problems and addictions for an addiction it must be.”
Last month the married civil engineer, originally from South Africa but who was living at Mill Road, Ballyroney at the time, pleaded guilty to a total of 31 offences, including two counts of allowing himself to be penetrated by a living animal on a date unknown between 1 February 2009 and 4 April last year.
In addition Williams, who appeared in the dock wearing a grey suit, pleaded guilty to ten charges of distributing indecent images of children, 17 counts of possessing or making indecent images of children and two further charges of possessing extreme pornography, all of which occurred on various dates between 10 October 2011 and 4 April 2014.
On Thursday prosecuting barrister Michael Chambers revealed that on the day he was arrested, Williams - who has an address at Station Road in Portstewart - tried to take his own life before turning himself into police.
The lawyer described how police went to his then work place and removed computers and other material but concerned staff contacted the manager to say the officers were looking for Williams.
The manager happened to be with Williams at the time and he agreed to meet the officers but police and staff “became concerned when the defendant failed to appear.”
The officers went to his home and explained to his “upset and concerned wife” why they were looking for her husband.
“She got a text from him to say that he was in big trouble with the police as he had downloaded child pornography on his old laptop at work,” said Mr Chambers, adding Williams told detectives he would meet them at Banbridge station.
When Williams arrived there, he was caked in mud and had scratch marks on each of his wrists. He told police there was a rope and knife in his car and that he had tried to take his own life.
Once arrested, he confessed he had been looking at indecent images of children since 2000 and that his preference was for young boys, including babies.
He had also viewed and distributed around 1,000 images on computers at work and at home and had “engaged in erotic conversations about child abuse and fantasised about sexually abusing his own children”.
Williams further admitted to police that he had sex with the family dog and had performed a sex act on the dog that he filmed and posted online.
Of the images uncovered, there were 28 still and moving pictures in the most serious two categories which, according to legal guidelines, depict sexual acts involving children, often with aspects of sado-masochism.
Defence lawyer Eugene McKenna said many of the offences came about as a direct result of Williams’ confessions.
He added that his client had shown “insight and remorse” for his actions and that he had already paid a high price for his crime in that his marriage was over and his career was in tatters.
But judge Kevin Finnegan rejected the appeals, and jailing Williams at Newry Crown Court, he said the defendant would remain on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.
He was also ordered to spend two years on licence dealing with his addiction after he is freed, and banned from working with children or having unsupervised contact with them, and from using computers which do not have monitoring software.