Saturday 23 June 2018

Paedophile who exploited young girls online expected to face more charges

Matthew Horan: Jailed for exploiting children online
Matthew Horan: Jailed for exploiting children online

Robin Schiller

A PAEDOPHILE who sexually exploited girls as young as nine, and distributed thousands of child porn images, is expected to face further charges after more material was found during a search of his home.

Matthew Horan (26) admitted coercing the young children into sending him sexually graphic images and was described as an “inadequate” individual by the presiding judge.

He was jailed for seven-and-a-half years after admitting to using social media apps including Instagram, Kik and Snapchat to target the young girls as well as communicate with other depraved individuals.

One of Horan’s victims described how she was terrified that the sex offender would “go after” her after finding out where she lived.

The Irish Independent has learned that detectives are expected to bring further charges, after recently uncovering further incriminating material during a search of Horan’s home. 

The property in St John’s estate, Clondalkin, Dublin, was searched three times as part of the lengthy Garda investigation and led to the recovery of thousands of child porn images.

It is understood that the new evidence had not yet reached law officers by the time Horan’s case was brought before the courts, but gardaí are expected to prefer further charges.

Sources last night said that this evidence was “of similar nature” to material previously seized from him.

“Horan created, distributed and was in possession of child porn. He is a dangerous individual who will now spend a lengthy time in jail,” they said.

Nine of the young children targeted by Horan are based in Ireland, while a further six were living abroad including the US.

A spokeswoman for the FBI said they could not comment.

It also emerged that his home in west Dublin was attacked on Monday night after his sordid crimes were detailed in court.

Defence counsel for the paedophile said that a window and front door of the home were smashed by “persons unknown”.

The house belongs to Horan’s father, who had no involvement in his son’s crimes.

Detectives were so concerned that Horan would continue to prey on vulnerable girls after being charged that officers presented a wealth of evidence at his bail hearing last summer to ensure that he was kept off the streets.

The paedophile has been in custody since last June when his bail was revoked.

Yesterday Judge Martin Nolan sentenced Matthew Horan to nine-and-a-half years imprisonment, and suspended the last two years on condition that he abides by a number of post release terms.

Det Supt Declan Daly, of the Garda Protective Services Bureau, said that the case had starkly demonstrated the dangers the internet can pose for young children.

“It serves a reminder for us all, parents in particular, to be vigilant of the internet use regarding their children.

“It serves a reminder for children themselves to be aware of the dangers that are on the internet,” Det Supt Daly said.

A forensic examination of Horan’s 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 took part in sexually explicit text conversations with the girls, during which there would be an exchange of photos.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Horan would use Kik to share child porn images and videos with unidentified users from around the world, most of whom claimed to be young teenagers.

The lengthy Garda probe, which uncovered material from April 2014 onwards, also led to the identification of other suspected sex offenders – including one man who expressed sexual fantasies about his nine-year-old daughter.

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