Sex offender escapes jail after positive probation service report

dungloe courthouse

A convicted sex offender with over 90 pornographic child images escaped jail because a judge was impressed with his progress under the Probation Service.

44-year-old Neil McBride, was yesterday placed under continuing supervision for 12 months of the Probation Service and was placed on the sex offenders register for five years.

He was also ordered to participate, if necessary, in the safer lives treatment programme which is run for people convicted of sex offences.

Judge Paul Kelly noted the offences were unusual in there was no direct victim although it must be appreciated by McBride that children were used and exploited to create the images he watched on his laptop.

The judge said a custodial offence would not be appropriate.

Dungloe District Court heard from the Probation Service of an assessment that there was no risk of re-conviction for similar offences.

McBride, from Gweedore, was said in court to be a former school head boy who was also a child victim of notorious sex predator Michael Ferry who is serving 14 years in jail.

Defence solicitor Jacqui Sharkey said Neil McBride was abused by Ferry, a former school caretaker in Gweedore, from aged 13 to17 and became a chronic alcoholic and his life spiralled out of control.

Unemployed McBride pleaded guilty to having 43 child pornography images on his Dell lap-top computer. He also admitted having a further 51 images of children under 17 years of age who were either fully or partially clothed.

The offences occurred when he lived at Fontwell Apartments, Letterkenny, in August 2011.