Pervert gamer lost Staffordshire University place after downloading indecent images of children

A pervert's "healthy interest" in gaming strayed into "deeply unsavoury territory" as he downloaded indecent images of children. A judge told Ryan Doherty it was "not a game" and these were "real human beings who are being tortured for the enjoyment and sexual gratification of others".

Doherty, 21, had been due to start a foundation course in gaming at Staffordshire University. But he lost his place when police found five indecent images of children on his phone, along with five extreme pornographic images.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court was told the discovery was made on April 19 last year, after police were notified that child sexual abuse material had been downloaded by Doherty. Officers went to the university's accommodation facility and seized his phone, which contained three indecent images of children at category A - the most serious - and two at category B.

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The court was also told Doherty's phone contained five extreme pornographic images. StokeonTrentLive reports that the images were of girls aged seven to 12.

Prosecutor Alison Whalley said Doherty, of Church Road, Yardley, Birmingham, answered 'no comment' to all questions following his arrest. He later pleaded guilty to two charges of making indecent photographs of a child and possession of extreme pornographic images.

Barry White, mitigating, said Doherty was due to start a game design foundation course but added: "Due to his actions he lost his place on that course."

Judge Michael Maher told the defendant: "You were living at university accommodation with a view to doing a foundation course. Your healthy interest in gaming seems to have strayed into deeply unsavoury territory where you were downloading indecent images of children. This is not a game. These are real human beings who are being tortured for the enjoyment and sexual gratification of others."

The judge added: "I believe I can properly protect the public and rehabilitate you with the imposition of a community order." Doherty was given a two-year community order, which included an accredited sexual offenders' programme, a 55-day rehabilitation activity requirement, and 60-hours unpaid work. He was also made the subject of a five-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and was placed on the Sex Offenders' Register for five years.