After leaving his mobile phone behind at a party, a "secret" decade-long obsession with child sex abuse finally unravelled for a 36-year-old.
Matthew Mauger appeared in front of Guernsey's Royal Court charged with nine counts of indecent images, including downloading 254 Category A images, 107 from Category B and 4,296 from Category C over a period spanning 11 years.
Category A images contain scenes of sexual penetration. Many of the images Mauger was found to have downloaded since 2009 were caps of live streams. He was also found guilty of "trading" five images from his stash with other people.
On Thursday 17 September 2020, Mauger went to a house party, leaving the property in the early hours of the following day. However, he left his phone behind, and it was found by someone who lived there. They looked through the phone - which did not have a passcode - to figure out who it belonged to, which is when they came across Mauger's "secret".
They reported what they had seen to police, before giving the phone to someone else to return to Mauger. A few days later, on 22 September, officers turned up at Mauger’s workplace to arrest him.
Pictured: Mauger was arrested and cautioned by Guernsey Police on 22 September 2020.
At his home address, officers found more devices. At the time, Mauger claimed that an Acer Tablet – which also contained a large number of his "best" images – had not been his and that he had taken it of a one-tonne bag the day before his arrest.
Two micro SD cards were found in his underwear drawer, to which he replied that he had "no idea" why he had kept them there.
He admitted to “desiring people slightly younger than myself” but rejected that he had looked at pre-pubescent children. It later transpired that some of the images were of pre-teen children.
As he began to open up about his secret obsession, he said he had taken 'caps' from a lot of live streams in the past. Mauger said he had become addicted and that his behaviour had got out of control. The Court was told that he kept his “best” images as “trophies”, however he denied gaining any sexual gratification from them.
Defence Advocate Phoebe Cobb said her client had started downloading indecent images back in 2009 while studying in the UK and that his obsession had become progressively worse.
"He has clearly suffered with this problem for many years, keeping his behaviour a secret," she told the Court.
"He can now try to get the help that he needs. It has gone on for some years and it has progressed and got worse. The more the problem has progressed, the more extreme and indecent the images got. After a while, he almost became desensitised to the images and their consequences."
Pictured: The Royal Court sentenced Mauger to three years in Les Nicolles Prison for his crimes.
The Bailiff, Richard McMahon, used his closing speech to remind Mauger of the consequences of what he had done - not to himself, but to the underage victims whose suffering and degradation he had perpetuated.
Mr McMahon described the images as "truly abhorrent and revolting", saying Mauger really had fallen further into the abyss over the last decade.
The Court sentenced him to three years in prison and issue him with a seven-year notification order upon his release.
Pictured top: Matthew Mauger has been convicted on nine counts of indecent images.
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