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Paedophile hid child pornography in Strathmerton home

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February 09, 2017

A man has received additional time to his prison sentence after a haul of child pornography was found in his former home.

A Strathmerton man got a nasty surprise when he uncovered CDs full of child pornography hidden in his home.

The man climbed into the roof of his house to try and fix an electrical issue in 2015 when he uncovered 37 optical computer discs that had been concealed.

The discs were found to contain hundreds of images and videos of child pornography.

When inspecting the property, police suspected the discs were left behind by the home’s former owner, Gregory Peter Vinen, a notorious paedophile teacher who was sent to prison for molesting one of his students.

Vinen was sentenced to nine years prison with a non-parole period of six-and-a-half years in Latrobe Valley County Court in 2015 after he confessed to molesting a Traralgon boy over a seven-year period, which began when the boy was just eight.

The offences occurred in the 1980s when Vinen was a teacher in the area and were only discovered when the victim came forward and reported the molestation as an adult.

Police interviewed Vinen about the discs in Hopkins Correctional Facility in Ararat in April last year, where he made no admissions to being responsible for them.

Vinen, 58, faced Shepparton Magistrates’ Court last Thursday via videolink to face 84 charges about the child pornography, which was later converted to one charge.

Police prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Kim Talbot said Vinen left clues that matched him to the discs.

‘‘There was an image on one of the discs showing him getting a trophy at the Cobram Barooga Golf Club,’’ Leading Sen Const Talbot said.

Forensics also uncovered a thumb print on a post-it note on one of the discs, which was found to be from Vinen’s left thumb.

Defence barrister Naomi Smith said most of the child pornography found on the discs were not of the most serious variety.

‘‘Seventy-three per cent of the material falls in that first category, (which is) the least serious kind,’’ she said.

All up there were 6962 images and movies uncovered on the discs, with just over 11 per cent containing the most serious kind of images and videos of child sexual abuse.

Vinen pleaded guilty via videolink to a charge of possessing child pornography.

He was found to have created the discs sometime between December 2005 and December 2006, before he left the discs in the roof when he sold the property to its present owners in 2008.

He was not believed to have produced the child pornography on the discs and the court heard that police suspected the images and movies were downloaded from the internet.

Magistrate John Murphy said he factored in Vinen’s existing sentence when determining the appropriate punishment.

He was sentenced to 18 months in prison, on top of his remaining non-parole period of five years.

—Barclay White

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