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UK WhatsApp duo convicted of possessing extreme porn

Pair pleaded guilty to 'unsolicited' shock images featuring animals

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Two UK men have been convicted of possessing extreme pornography, received via WhatsApp, in a case also involving the distribution of images featuring bestiality.‬

A judge accepted that they hadn't solicited the shock images and one claimed he didn't watch the material he'd been sent. Nonetheless, Gary Ticehurst, 28, of Canvey Island, Essex, and Mark Kelly, 25, of Romford were both given a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £500 costs.

Both pleaded guilty to possessing the depraved images on their respective smartphones. Kelly pleaded guilty to one count of "possessing an extreme pornographic image likely to cause injury", and three counts of possessing pornographic images involving animals. Ticehurst admitted one count of possessing an extreme pornographic image as well as two counts of possessing pornographic images involving animals.

The depraved images were found after police stopped them for unrelated matters and discovered the shock images upon inspecting their mobile phones, The Independent reports. Both men subsequently claimed they didn't know who had sent them the images and video clips.‪ The‬ images and footage were sent to them for “shock value,” the Old Bailey heard.

Both men defended themselves in court. Kelly said he had deleted the received videos from his WhatsApp, adding that he was unaware that images were saved to his camera roll. "I didn't even watch the full content of the video. It was very sick and disturbing," he told the court.

Ticehurst said he hadn't even looked at the images on his phone, which he “completely forgot about" after receiving them two months prior to his arrest.

Judge Paul Worsley told the court that his was imposing a “lenient” sentence, accepting that neither man had solicited the content nor had attempted to share it with others.

"You have pleaded guilty to possessing truly disgusting images," Judge Worsley said, the Daily Mirror reports. "It makes a big difference if someone goes out of their way to seek it, or if they're sent it by some mischievous colleague."

"In your case it was unsolicited. This is an exceptional case in some ways. The public should not find this carte blanche to possess material of this nature," he added. ®

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