Andy Muirhead was an ABC radio broadcaster and television presenter on the popular antique show Collectors. He was a young man full of promise and had the world at his feet when out of the blue, he was arrested for having images of child pornography on his computer. He swore he was innocent. He went on unpaid leave and production of Collectors was suspended and repeat episodes of him were pulled.
With evidence overwhelmingly against him, he recently pleaded guilty to three charges and has been remanded in custody after being out on bail since he was charged in 2010.
His defence claims he had no sexual interest in children despite the fact that he downloaded 12,000 images and videos of children, some described as "sadistic." Muirhead looked down when graphic examples of images were played to the court.
The court heard an apology from him in a letter read by his lawyer Kim Baumler.
I wish to express how sorry I am as I stand before the court, guilty of the charges of accessing and possessing child exploitation material. Words can't describe how embarrassed and ashamed I am. I would like the court to know that I take full responsibility for my actions and accept the consequences. What I did was shameful, reckless and stupid. I have spent the last two years going over it in my mind, night and day, and I doubt I will ever stop feeling ashamed."
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A psychologist treating Muirhead, Janet Haines, provided a report to the court to be considered before sentencing. In it, she maintains that he viewed the porn because of work stress and not for personal gratification and thinks there is no indication that he could be considered a paedophile. She believes he fell into a small group of offenders, recognised by new studies, who viewed child pornography for other reasons and that Muirhead has no sexual interest in children. "He was exhausted and didn't have any balance in his life." Is she really serious?
It's clear that Janet Haines has lost touch with reality if she expects anyone to believe drivel such as this. This man likes to watch babies and toddlers being raped. He's admitted his guilt, all that's left is to lock him up and throw away the key.
But the sad fact is that our legal system doesn't come down heavy enough on these rock spiders and he'll be back on line before you know it. The judge in this case has the perfect opportunity to make an example of this man and send a message to others - if you peddle this filth, you will eventually be caught and outed.
There is also an important message for parents. No matter how respectable your new friend appears to be, never leave him alone with your children.
New Team on Collectors
Update: Muirhead received a 10 months prison sentence