Police Officer with almost 9,000 indecent pictures of children spared jail

11 September 2019, 18:27

PC Stephen McGoldrick, 50, admitted storing almost 9,000 indecent images on his phone and was spared jai lat Bristol Crown Court . Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

A former police officer who stored almost 9,000 pictures of children on his phone has been spared jail.

PC Stephen McGoldrick, 50, quit Gloucestershire Police after he was charged with five counts of making indecent images of children.

He admitted the offences previously, and was today sentenced to an 18-month community order with 40 days of rehabilitation at Bristol Crown Court.

McGoldrick, from Aberdare, South Wales, has also been ordered to carry out 150 hours community work.

Judge Peter Blair QC also placed McGoldrick on the sex offenders register for five years and made him the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for the same period.

The court heard that indecent images were recovered from a mobile phone belonging to McGoldrick when police were investigating a separate matter in April this year.

Several electronic devices were recovered and when they were examined, experts found a total of 8,519 indecent images - five at category A, eight at category B and the remainder at category C.

He has been spared a jail sentence
He has been spared a jail sentence. Picture: Gloucestershire Police

McGoldrick, who had joined Gloucestershire Police in 2008, resigned before he was charged in July and pleaded guilty at the magistrates' court last month.

James Haskell, defending, said McGoldrick had gone through personal difficulties in recent years, supporting his partner financially through a custody battle, leading to him accruing debts of £36,000.

The court heard McGoldrick also struggled to deal with his partner developing cancer, the death of his elder brother and his mother's ill health.

Speaking after the case, Detective Chief Inspector Chris Hanson said: "McGoldrick was suspended as soon as the allegations came to light, and following his arrest and our investigation he was charged with these offences and brought before the court today.

"Police officers are expected to protect people, especially those who are particularly vulnerable, such as children. I'm pleased to say this man, who has betrayed both the public and his colleagues, will never hold such office again.

"These serious offences involved the abuse of innocent children, a horrendous crime which seems to be even more so when committed by a person who is in a position of trust and knows the devastating impact child abuse has."

Passing sentence, the judge said: "These were abhorrent images which I believe you now acknowledge and understand have real victims.

"You have fallen from grace in a massive way due to your former employment as a police officer. You have shown considerable remorse.

"You must understand that I impose this sentence because I have concluded there is a good prospect of rehabilitation which can be best achieved through a community order rather than a custodial sentence.

"You fall into a category where the public will be better served by this type of sentence."