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Allen's child-porn images 'extreme'

Poll shows Judge Patwell 'wrong' to blame media and allow charity donation in place of jail sentence...

Allen's porn 'extreme'

Poll shows Judge Patwell 'wrong' to blame media and allow charity donation in place of jail sentence

THIS weekend as disgraced paedophile Tim Allen hides away in his collapsing food business empire and his wife, the TV celebrity chef Darina, who stood by him, is showered with hugs and kisses from well-wishers and sympathisers visiting her food stall in Midleton market, the Sunday Independent can reveal that the images downloaded by Mr Allen were at the extreme end of the scale for this kind of abuse rather than the Eason's "top-shelf" material referred to by the judge who let the pervert off with community service.

The Sunday Independent has also established that Allen who is now being monitored by gardai and probation workers to ensure he not only carries out his 240 hours community service but also attends a psychologist twice a week in an effort to cure his compulsion to take enjoyment from the sexual abuse of children was no mere browser following his curiosity.

A large proportion of the pornographic images downloaded by Tim Allen came from the secret world of internet paedophile 'chat rooms', which is the internet method of making direct contact with like-minded sex criminals where code words and trading of images takes place.

According to sources close to the investigation, Allen did not converse over the internet with other paedophiles but chose to download and quickly delete most of the images he accessed.

Up the road, three miles from the convicted pervert's school, the original Ballymaloe House restaurant owned by his mother, Myrtle Allen, was half-deserted; customers telephoned to say they would never eat there again; cookery books were returned and school courses cancelled by pupils who had booked, said Mr Allen's spin doctor, Pat Heneghan, who also attended the court case.

As a convicted pervert, Tim Allen now has to keep the gardai informed if he decides to move house, if he stays at a different address for more than seven days and if he is leaving the country.

In the latter event, the gardai will inform the authorities of that country about Allen's conviction so that he can be put on a sex offenders' register there.

Also under pressure yesterday was the District Judge, Michael Patwell, who decided to change a nine-month jail sentence to a community service order because of media coverage and because of Allen's agreement to make a charitable donation.

Allen's guilty plea to the single charge against him and his promise to pay {ðE}40,000 to a children's charity encouraged Judge Michael Patwell to withdraw a proposed nine-month sentence and instead impose the community service order.

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In a Sunday Independent telephone poll, taken on Friday, 88 per cent of respondents said they found the sentence was too lenient.

A massive 87 per cent said Judge Patwell was "wrong", when sentencing, to consider Allen's willingness to make a charitable donation.

A further 73 per cent also said the judge was "wrong" to take prior media coverage into account when sentencing; 90 per cent were dissatisfied that such cases be dealt with by district courts.

Yesterday, as Darina Allen was greeted by well-wishers at the family's stall at a market in Midleton, Cork, further details of her husband's criminal activities were emerging.

It has been learned that about 100 of the 1,000 or so pornographic images found on the hard drives of three computers taken from Ballymaloe House were clearly within the legal definition set out in the 1998 Child Trafficking and Pornography Act. Despite the fact that the Act carries a punishment of up to 12 months imprisonment for the offence to which Allen pleaded guilty, he escaped with a community-service order.

There are now concerns that this judgement might set a precedent for the dozens of other similar cases coming before the courts this year.

In the UK, judges are now prepared with a sentencing category which clearly sets out suitable minimum punishments for the type of paedophile pornography concerned.

The images Allen downloaded are within the top limit of the UK category and for which the sentence is up to five years.

But yesterday, his wife told the Sunday Independent she was standing by "the man that I have loved for over 32 years".

"I stand by Tim completely though I don't condone or excuse what he has done. But this is not the man that I know," she declared.

She also said that some of the comments within the media have been "very hurtful" to the family despite making absolutely clear their total condemnation of what Tim Allen did.

But Darina Allen also admitted yesterday that she was "totally overwhelmed" by the "incredible reaction" she received when she insisted on opening the family's stall at the Midleton farmers' market in East Cork.

Briefly accompanied by her son, Isaac, she was swamped by locals and shoppers who insisted on shaking her hand and wishing her well.

"People have been wonderful, they've been amazing and so very kind," she said.

On her arrival yesterday morning, the TV chef was presented with a bouquet of hyacinths by a well-wisher.

The 'Internet Relay Chat' areas where some of the worst images are concerned are now at the centre of the investigations by detectives from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation who headed the operation which exposed Allen and other Irish paedophiles. Most of the images retrieved by Garda computer forensic officers from his computers were of post-pubescent teenage girls. Midleton Court heard, however, that some of the images were of girls as young as four or five, several of them being raped or sexually abused. The images which led to Allen's exposure and arrest came from a pay site run by a man and his wife based in Fort Worth, Texas.

Thomas Reedy, the man who ran the site, was sentenced to life imprisonment on August 6, 2001. His wife received a 14-year sentence.

The Reedys, whose internet site was run by a company called Landslide Productions, netted millions of dollars. Thomas Reedy made contact with organised criminals in Russia and Indonesia who abducted and raped children for the purpose of filming and photographing their rape and sexual exploitation.

The fate of all the children involved remains unknown. Most are believed to be sold into prostitution. Some US law officials have expressed concern that some of the child victims might also be killed and their bodies used for illegal trade in organ parts. Allen is believed to have paid only $29.95 via his credit card to access the site on one occasion and download images.

However, this transaction was traced by the US Post Service. The information on this and the other transactions by Irish credit-card holders was passed to the FBI then to Interpol and then on to the gardai who set up a major arrest and seizure operation last May 27.

Some 30,000 paedophiles worldwide were identified by the US Postal Service investigation.

Included in the figures arrested here are a judge, at least two barristers, two headmasters, a choir master, a director of a major company in the communications area, and a wealthy Dublin businessman.

It is believed that in all the forthcoming cases there will be a single charge covering the general possession of pornographic images under the Act, as happened in Allen's case.

On top of the {ðE}40,000 donation the Allens offered to make to the Edith Wilkins Foundation children's charity in Calcutta, it is believed they face legal and Public Relations bills of at least twice this amount.

Last night, however, Allen, indicated that a final decision has not yet been taken on which children's charity will receive his {ðE}40,000 donation.

On Thursday, Judge Michael Patwell recommended that the payment go to help the work of Edith Wilkins, an Irish woman who was undertaking what he termed "a Mother Teresa-type operation" in India.

However, Edith Wilkins has founded two charities that work with street children in India and both yesterday indicated that they believe the money was offered to them.

The HOPE Foundation a charity that undertakes work with disadvantaged and homeless children in Calcutta was founded by Edith though she resigned from the charity 18 months ago.

HOPE's work has since been endorsed by such luminaries as Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons, and Chariots of Fire producer David Puttnam.

But Edith is now involved with another group she founded called the Street Children of Calcutta and she claimed yesterday that the money will have "a phenomenal impact" on her work with poor and homeless children in the teeming Indian city.

However, this organisation has yet to be formally registered as a charity.

Yesterday, a spokeswoman for the HOPE Foundation said they now want clarification on which charitable institution Judge Patwell had in mind for Tim Allen's {ðE}40,000 donation.

"All we want is clarification. If the money is earmarked for us, then we will have to think long and hard about whether to accept it," she declared.

Yesterday, a spokesman for Tim Allen indicated that a final decision has not yet been taken on which charity will ultimately benefit. He insisted that the money will help poor and vulnerable children.


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