Monday 18 June 2018

Garda probe into depraved paedophile now shifts to another suspected sex offender

Matthew Horan
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Robin Schiller and Ken Foy

A garda investigation into a depraved paedophile who was found with pornographic images of babies will now shift to another suspected sex offender who expressed sexual fantasies about his own child.

This week a court heard how depraved Matthew Horan (26) sent and received child porn images of at least 15 children both in Ireland and abroad.

Horan's home in St John's Crescent, Clondalkin, Dublin, was searched on a number of occasions with thousands of child porn images recovered, some of which involved babies.

It has now emerged that Garda inquiries are focusing on another suspected paedophile who expressed graphic sexual fantasies about his daughter.

The Garda probe into Horan discovered dozens of conversations on instant messaging apps, opening with the question "Yo, wanna see some child porn?" before sending graphic images.

Forensic experts recovered a Skype conversation between Horan and another man in which the two shared fantasies about the unidentified man's daughter.

This man is now under investigation by specialist officers, and is understood to be among several individuals uncovered during the probe into Horan.

A spokesperson for Instagram, one of several apps used by Horan, said the company had "zero tolerance for child exploitation". "When detected, our teams ensure that any offending content is immediately removed and reported to the relevant authorities," he said.

"We also work closely with An Garda Síochána, in particular the Cybercrime Unit. In addition, we work with safety experts to develop powerful tools to combat this kind of activity and we have a global team responding around the clock to reports from our community."

Further safeguards used by the company include integrated Photo DNA, a technology that scans all images on Instagram and flags known child exploitative material.

Kik, an anonymous messaging app also used by Horan, did not respond to questions when asked what the company was doing to prevent child exploitation and the distribution of child pornography on its app.

On Monday, Horan pleaded guilty to 11 counts of sexually exploiting a child and possessing child pornography.

A forensic examination of his computer uncovered recorded Skype calls between him and two nine-year-old girls, both individually and together. The recordings included footage of these girls engaging in graphic sexual acts.

Horan also engaged in sexually explicit text conversations with the girls, during which there would be an exchange of photos.

Judge Martin Nolan adjourned the case to Friday and said he intended to sentence Horan then.

Detective Garda David Connolly told Lorcan Staines BL, prosecuting, that the parents of the then nine-year-old girls from the Skype recordings expressed their "absolute shock" when they found out about the exchanges with Horan.

They said they "felt sick to the pit of our stomachs" and felt they had failed to protect their daughters from the online predator.

Irish Independent

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