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Wirral pensioner who downloaded indecent images of children is jailed
A PENSIONER from Wirral who downloaded tens of thousands of child porn images has been jailed for 16 months.
Michael Callaghan, 73, was arrested after a tip off to Merseyside police by authorities in America investigating the trading of indecent images through a website called Gigatribe.
Callaghan admitted downloading the images but claimed he had amassed them because of an 'obsession' with finding pictures of himself being abused in the 1950s.
But Liverpool Crown Court judge heard out of all the 45,000 indecent images found on his hard drive just 143 of them were in black and white and a judge ruled that he has an "unhealthy interest in young children."
Callaghan, a former supermarket worker, downloaded the pictures and videos between November 2010 and February last year.
Derek Jones, prosecuting, said that Callaghan co-operated with detectives during their investigation, providing passwords and admitting what he had done. He compared pictures of naked boys with 'female pin ups'.
But he later denied getting sexual gratification from the images and claimed he had just been looking for images of himself as a boy.
Giving evidence he said a chance remark from an elderly relative about his mother's lodger in the early 1950s set him on the path to downloading the images.
He claimed he had repressed memories of the now deceased lodger, who he said abused him along with other men and took photos of him.
Callaghan, of Wellington Road, New Brighton, said: "It was as if a secret I had kept to myself for sixty years had suddenly been loosened.
"I was beset by fears - images of this man and the way he had treated me.
"The one thing that came through it was the words of one of them that he was going to publish them and send a copy to my mother.
"It was devouring me. It gave me no peace. I had to find out if this was the truth."
Callaghan admitted 15 charges of making the images, one of distributing them and two of possessing of indecent images.
Chris Williams, defending, said Callaghan was 'deeply regretful' and was 'grateful he had been caught'.
Judge David Aubrey accepted Callaghan had been abused but rejected his claims not to be sexually aroused by images of naked boys.
"There is no doubt you were abused as a child. But you were doing what you were doing because you have an unhealthy interest in young children.
"This is a very troubling case. It is a very sad case. It is a very tragic case."
The judge said that despite his age, frailty and good character the offences were so serious only an immediate jail sentence was justified.
He ordered him to sign the Sex Offenders Register for ten years, banned him from working with children and imposed a seven year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.