Wednesday 21 August 2019

Computer expert who spied on children in toilets using hidden cameras is jailed

Kieran Griffin was sentenced to three years in prison (North West Newspix)
Kieran Griffin was sentenced to three years in prison (North West Newspix)

Stephen Maguire

A COMPUTER expert who spied on children in public toilets using hidden cameras and placed secret cameras in his bathroom to film visitors has been jailed.

Kieran Griffin (57) showed no emotion as he was sentenced to three years in prison by Judge John Aylmer at Letterkenny District Court, Co Donegal, yesterday.

He had pleaded guilty to a range of offences, including making and possessing child pornography.

Griffin had studied computers at Letterkenny Institute of Technology.

Gardai became aware of him when he was spotted indulging in lewd behaviour in the toilets of Letterkenny Shopping Centre in July 2016.

He was using a covert camera wrapped in a newspaper to spy on young boys in the toilets.

He was found in possession of two phones, a memory card and a covert pen camera.

Gardai raided his home at Cashel, Fanad, and seized items including a Sony laptop, other hard-drives and a five-page child pornographic story called Swimland Beaver Patrol.

Garda Detective Stephen McGonagle revealed how the covert camera pen had been placed in Griffin’s bathroom at the home he shared with his elderly mother.

The video recordings showed Griffin setting up the camera and a young woman using the bathroom, including scenes of her naked while showering.

Other material found on the seized laptop showed a semi-naked Griffin chatting in a sexually explicit manner to boys as young as 14.

Det Gda McGonagle was asked by Judge Aylmer if he knew where these victims lived or what country they were from.

He said the young boys spoke broken English and thought they were foreigners but that Interpol had not been able to trace them.

Detectives interviewed Griffin a number of times and he pleaded guilty to a range of charges, including possession of child pornography and engaging in threatening and abusive behaviour between 2011 and 2017.

Griffin’s brother John told the court the investigation had ripped his family apart.

“None of us would attempt to condone this in any way,” he said, adding that if his brother was jailed his elderly mother, whom Griffin looked after, would have to go into care.

“If she has to go into a home I don’t think she’ll survive very long,” his brother added. Griffin apologised to his victims and his family.

The court was told Griffin was a daily church-goer but had been fired from his previous job following publicity about his pending court case.

His barrister Ciaran O’Rourke said there was no question that the material seized was ever distributed to other people or that Griffin had profited from the material.

Judge Aylmer said Griffin was a hard-working man who had alcohol and mental health issues.

Griffin was hugged by his brother as he was led away in handcuffs by prison officers.

Herald

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