Northern Ireland

Ex-pharmacist sentenced over child images

A former pharmacist who pleaded guilty to having 378 indecent images of children has been placed on probation for three years.

David McKee, 43, of Edenderry village in Belfast, admitted six charges.

The images - most of which were in the lowest category of seriousness - were of children aged between five and 15.

McKee was struck off by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland after he failed to maintain his professional development following his arrest.

'Fall from grace'

A prosecution lawyer told Belfast Crown Court that McKee had obtained the images from adult websites and chatrooms.

A defence barrister said it was "difficult to imagine a steeper fall from grace".

He said that after the breakdown of his marriage, McKee found himself "exploring the darker reaches of the Internet" but has since expressed remorse and described himself as "naive, stupid and foolish".

The lawyer said McKee was now "a recluse with deteriorating mental health".

He said McKee had deliberately failed to maintain his professional development after he was arrested, which led to him being struck off as a pharmacist.

The judge also ordered McKee to serve 100 hours of community service and made him the subject of a five-year sexual offences prevention order.

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