Armidale: Alleged find on laptop leads to man being arrested in his Blundstones

How a horrifying alleged find on a laptop led this tradesman to be marched from his house in his work boots and handcuffs – after a tip-off from the US

  • Laptop allegedly containing 200 images of child abuse material seized by police
  • Detectives from Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad charged a 54-year-old man
  • Cannabis was also found in the Armidale house and he faces drug charges too 

Footage has emerged of the moment a tradesman accused of possessing child abuse images was arrested and escorted from his house in his work boots.

NSW Police stormed a home in Armidale, in northern NSW, about 7am on Tuesday and arrested a 54-year-old man. 

There, Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad detectives seized a laptop allegedly containing more than 200 images of child abuse.

The man was taken to Armidale Police Station and charged with possessing child abuse material, using a carriage service to access child abuse material and possessing prohibited drug. 

The man (pictured centre with blurred face) was arrested and charged in northern NSW on Tuesday

The man (pictured centre with blurred face) was arrested and charged in northern NSW on Tuesday

All of the items seized at the man’s house have been sent for further forensic examination.

Earlier this year, investigators from the Australian Federal Police’s Child Protection Triage Unit got reports from the US-based National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children regarding the online activities of an Australian man.

In July 2022, the investigation was referred to the Child Abuse and Sex Crime Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit (CEIU).

Its extensive investigations led to the arrest on the 54-year-old on Tuesday.

He was refused bail and appeared at Glen Innes Local Court later that day, where he was formally refused bail to reappear at Armidale Local Court on Wednesday 21.

Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Jayne Doherty, said police encourage parents to have open conversations with their children about their online activity.

‘If a child is asked to send photos or perhaps already sent photos to someone on the internet, they should feel comfortable telling a trusted adult who can help them,’ she said.

A 54-year-old alleged paedophile (pictured right) has been arrested wearing work boots in Armidale, NSW

A 54-year-old alleged paedophile (pictured right) has been arrested wearing work boots in Armidale, NSW

‘Children are often coerced into providing further photos or paying money to someone online because they are scared their parents or carers will find out about their online activity and they will get in trouble.’

‘NSW Police work closely with the eSafety Commissioner in the investigation and take down of this type of material to protect children from revictimisation,’ Detective Superintendent Doherty said.

CEIU conducts regular covert online investigations and police in NSW work closely with their law-enforcement colleagues interstate and overseas.

The alleged paedophile (centre) is pictured stepping into a police van after being arrested

The alleged paedophile (centre) is pictured stepping into a police van after being arrested

The Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad is made up of detectives trained to investigate matters against children and adults, including sexual assault, serious physical abuse and extreme cases of neglect.

Anyone with concerns about suspected child abuse or exploitation should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.

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