A computer security consultant has been sentenced following a complex police investigation into indecent photographs of children.
On Friday 14 September 2018 he was sentenced to four months, suspended for two years.
McKeating was originally arrested in February 2016 on suspicion of possession of indecent material, and then bailed pending further investigation. Much of the computer hardware seized by North Yorkshire Police was encrypted, requiring considerable time and expertise to examine it. Some files and other information had been deleted, meaning recovery was only possible using specialist forensic software. In interview, the self-employed computer security consultant claimed the machines must have been remotely accessed or subjected to a virus, but officers found no evidence to support this.
Aside from the suspended prison sentence, Judge Paul Worsley QC also imposed a Sexual Harm Prevention Order of seven years’ duration. During sentencing, Judge Worsley said he was satisfied McKeating had offended for a number of years, adding: “You are clearly in denial and have clearly not been able to admit it to your wife and family.”
McKeating also has to pay prosecution costs and register as a sex offender.
The officer in the case, DC Vincent Formosa, of North Yorkshire Police, said:
Every indecent photograph is a result of a child suffering from abuse. A child is victimised not only when they are abused, but also every time that image is viewed.
The case was technically complex, involving sophisticated encryption techniques and I must applaud the efforts of North Yorkshire Police’s forensic investigators who put in months of work in unravelling the complex web of evidence.
This case sends a clear message that you can’t hide anonymously behind a screen – those who access these sickening images will be traced and prosecuted.
If you have concerns about someone’s online activity you can report it to CEOP, via www.ceop.police.uk or to the police by calling 101. CEOP’s Thinkuknow programme provides information for children, young people, parents and carers about staying safe online and preventing sexual abuse and exploitation.