Evan McClelland, of Lyndhurst Road, Worthing, pleaded guilty to seven charges involving sexual offences against two dogs and making hundreds of indecent images of children and animals at Worthing Magistrates’ Court on May 19.
He appeared before Hove Crown Court for sentencing today (Friday, July 23), and was given a three-year community order.
Sentencing, Judge Jeremy Gould QC told McClelland that normally people would go straight to prison for offences such as these, but he had ‘made an exception due to special circumstances’.
“I have read a great deal about you and you have had many difficulties in life, and that I understand and have taken into account,” he added.
The court heard that on or before October 7, 2020, McClelland was found in possession of 521 indecent images of children at an address in Dolphin Road, Shoreham.
They included 180 of the most serious Category A images.
And on or before the same date, McClelland also possessed 198 prohibited images of children and 349 ‘extreme’ sexual images involving a person and a live animal.
The court was also told that at the same address, on January 1, 2016, McClelland committed two counts of sexual offences against his family dogs, DeeDee and Digit.
Hannah Hurley, prosecuting, told the court via video link that police had executed warrants at the address after identifying McClelland as being in possession of the images.
When officers attended, they spoke to everyone at the home, Miss Hurley told the court, and McClelland admitted the images belonged to him and was arrested.
Computers and other devices were also looked at and two videos of McClelland committing sexual offences against the family dogs were found.
The court heard that McClelland has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – and had no previous convictions.
Judge Jeremy Gould QC told the court: “In light of this young man’s background and history and very special difficulties he has suffered, it seems to me I should make every effort for him to deal with these very special problems.
“These exceptional circumstances and his vulnerability particularly, I feel a community order is appropriate.”
He told McClelland he has ‘many, many people bending over backwards to help him’ and he should take advantage of this.
“The opportunity you are getting today is likely to be a one-off opportunity,” added Judge Gould.
“And if you breach this, I am afraid the result will be very different, which will be very sad for you.”
He told McClelland he hopes he will ‘iron out his problems’ and move on in life in a productive direction.
McClelland was told he will have to register as sex offender and was given a sexual harm prevention order.
As part of his community order, he will also need to complete 30 rehabilitation activity days and will need to be in regular contact with the probation service and complete a New Me Strengths programme.