21 December 2017
A Holywood man has admitted he downloaded hundreds of indecent images of children and several child abuse manuals.
Owen Mounsey, who was 16 at the time of the offences, pleaded guilty to the offences at Belfast Crown Court today following a joint investigation by the National Crime Agency and PSNI.
Mounsey, now 18, was arrested at home in 2016 by NCA and PSNI officers who seized his mobile phone, computer and two USB sticks.
Almost a third of the 822 images forensic analysts found on the devices were in the most serious category.
Mounsey downloaded images and the manuals from the internet but also solicited images from boys during social media conversation.
Mounsey would ask for pictures of his victims in various states of undress, sometimes offering video game credits in return and in one case using the pretence it would help him advise them on their gym routines.
The NCA and PSNI have identified Mounsey’s victims and taken action to ensure they are supported and protected.
The investigation found no evidence of Mounsey committing contact abuse against any children.
Rob Burgess, NCA head of operations for Scotland and Northern Ireland, said: “The NCA is working with the PSNI to protect the public in Northern Ireland from serious and organised crime.
“Owen Mounsey’s relatively young age may shock some people but it means he has been detected early and is now on the radar of law enforcement.
“The NCA and PSNI have the skills, dedication and technical capability to detect and bring to justice offenders who are viewing, sharing or producing indecent images of children.
“And it is of paramount importance to the NCA and PSNI to look after victims and ensure they are properly supported and protected.”
PSNI Chief Inspector Stephen Wilson said: “This joint operation with the NCA is a further illustration of our determination to tackle all forms of child sexual abuse by working together to ensure we can protect children and apprehend offenders.
“Our message to those who continue to exploit children online is very clear. You leave a digital footprint when you are downloading, viewing, making indecent images of children and both the PSNI and NCA have the capacity, capability and determination to catch you and bring you to justice."