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Herne Bay paedophile Paul Shirra avoids jail for child sex image offences

By Sean Axtell

A jobless paedophile caught with child sex images following a police tip-off has been told: "Hang your head in shame."

Officers raided the home of Paul Shirra's parents and seized the 36-year-old's laptop, which contained 107 "vile" images.

A third of them were classified as Category A - the most graphic kind - and Shirra admitted he used them for sexual gratification.

Indecent images were found on Paul Shirra's laptop
Indecent images were found on Paul Shirra's laptop

But Judge Mark Weekes spared him jail today when he appeared for sentencing at Canterbury Crown Court.

“The images that have been described are particularly vile images," he said.

“Each of those images represents a victim of sexual abuse. Each of those children shown within those images has suffered an ordeal that would have taken them most of their lives to recover from.

"You have contributed - you should hang your head in shame.”

The court was told that police officers, acting on intelligence, swooped on Shirra’s parents’ home in Spenser Road, Herne Bay, on September 18, 2017.

A search warrant was executed and Shirra's laptop seized.

Police found a mixture of Category A, B and C images concealed on the device.

Canterbury Crown Court
Canterbury Crown Court

Shirra, who lived at the address, pleaded guilty to three charges of having indecent images at a previous hearing and was handed a 13-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months.

He was also given a 10-year sexual harm prevention order and told to carry out a rehabilitation programme and 180 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Weekes also ordered the laptop to be confiscated.

Mitigating, Shirra's barrister said her client was remorseful and gave a "full and frank" police interview following his arrest.

He also had no previous convictions and suffered a major head trauma in 2016, she added.

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “As we see all too frequently there is a dark side to the internet which means offenders like Shirra can readily access sickening child abuse images at the click of a button.

“To help rid the internet of illegal and harmful content, the NSPCC is campaigning for far more to be done by tech providers to cut off this horrific material at source.”

To read more of our in depth coverage of all of the major trials coming out of crown and magistrates' courts across the county, click here.

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