Sex offender found dead in Lurgan

Lawrence Henderson.
Lawrence Henderson.

A convicted sex offender has been found dead in Lurgan this morning.

The body of Lawrence Henderson who was in his early 30s was discovered dead at his home in Kilwilkie this morning (Friday).

In October 2014 the Lurgan man pleaded guilty of having more than 3,000 indecent images of children on his computer.

Henderson of Kilwilke Road, was put on probation for three years at Craigavon Crown Court on child pornography charges.

He had pleaded guilty to 26 charges of making an indecent photograph of a child and one charge of having in his possession 3,354 indecent photographs of children.

He was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register.

The PSNI said this morning: “Police in Lurgan attended the scene of the sudden death of a man at a house at Kilwilke Road on Friday 22nd July. The death is not being treated as suspicious at this time.”

In October 2014 Craigavon Magistrates Court heard that the offences filed against Henderson came to light when he brought his computer to a shop in Lurgan to have it repaired.

Staff discovered pornographic images and contacted police. Henderson was arrested when he returned to collect the computer.

There were 208 category one pictures and four category two pictures on the computer.

An external hard drive was discovered in a search of his home and this contained 3,347 category one pictures and one category two photograph.

Henderson admitted to police that he had pornography on his computer but claimed the girls were aged over 18.

A prosecutor who had viewed the photographs said the maximum age of the girls would have been 12 to 13.

Judge Patrick Lynch told Henderson he had brought shame upon himself and his family.

When asked if he agreed to the probation order and it’s conditions Henderson replied: “Yes, no problem at all.”

Upper Bann MLA Jo-Anne Dobson subsequently called for an appeal to his probation sentence.

In October 2014 she said: “The community are rightly asking what deterrent this sentence provides - sadly the answer is little. I share the public anger that, having pleaded guilty, such a frankly lenient sentence has been passed.”

The then DUP MLA Stephen Moutray also said: “It is utterly appalling that an individual who pleads guilty to such a serious, disgusting and disturbing crime has walked free with what I would say is slap on the wrists. I have written to the DPP asking that this sentence be reviewed.”

A spokesperson for the Public Prosecution Service said at the time: “The Criminal Justice Act 1988 gives the Court of Appeal the power to review a sentence passed by the Crown Court in respect of certain offences on the grounds that it may be unduly lenient. This power applies to all offences that are triable on indictment only and to a number of other offences that the law specifies. This particular case involved an “either way” offence, ie a case which can be dealt with at either Magistrates’ or Crown Court level. Additionally, the offences are not included in the scheduled list of offences the PPS can refer.

“The offences prosecuted in this case are therefore not capable in law of being referred to the Court of Appeal. The prosecutor’s duty in a sentencing hearing is to provide the court with an accurate summary of the facts of the case and to ensure that all relevant authorities are bought to the Judge’s attention.”