Child predator still ‘haunts’ family, father tells court

Dubliner Matthew Horan pleads guilty to 11 sample charges of possessing child pornography

During three separate raids on Matthew Horan’s  home, gardaí found thousands of child pornography images on computers and phones.

During three separate raids on Matthew Horan’s home, gardaí found thousands of child pornography images on computers and phones.

 

A Dublin man who pleaded guilty to 11 sample charges of possessing and sharing child pornography is to be sentenced on Friday.

Matthew Horan (26) from Clondalkin, used Skype, Snapchat, Instagram and Kik, an anonymous instant messaging application, to send and receive images from six identified children in Ireland and nine others around the world. During three separate raids on Horan’s home, gardaí found thousands of child pornography images on computers and phones.

In victim impact statements, a father of one victim and the mother of another spoke of their horror at what they had discovered.

They “felt sick to the pit of our stomachs” Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

“That predator still haunts us,” said the father, describing how his then nine-year-old daughter had been contacted online by Horan posing as a child. “We feel we can never get over what happened to our daughter because images online can never be erased.”

He said she bought the phone with her Communion money to watch cartoons, dancing and singing online.

The mother of a second girl, also nine, said when she found out what Horan had coaxed her daughter into doing, she said “my body started to shake, my blood started to boil . . . I felt so bad I didn’t protect her.”

Judge Martin Nolan ruled nothing should be reported that could identify Horan’s victims. As prosecuting barrister Lorcan Staines outlined in graphic detail the facts behind the charges, Horan, dressed in a white shirt and maroon pullover, with black-rimmed glasses, sat hunched forward, staring at the ground, expressionless.

The court heard he was a perpetual loner on the autism spectrum who, since completing his Leaving Cert in 2009, had done nothing except be on his computer at home.