A Melbourne SES volunteer and “furry” who allegedly ran an online group to share child abuse material wants bail.

Werribee man Nathan Begnell has been hit with 303 charges including the transmission and supply of child abuse material and running an “electronic service” to share the images.

The 36-year-old State Emergency Services volunteer appeared via video link in Melbourne Magistrates Court for a bail application on Tuesday.

The unemployed man, originally from New South Wales, allegedly ran a group on the encrypted Telegram messenger service to share pre-pubescent images of boys, Detective Cassie Borg said during the hearing.

Since March 2018, when Begnell allegedly started the group, he is accused of sharing 1900 images.

The majority featured animated or computer-generated images, but they were of such high quality they were “extremely realistic”, Detective Borg said.

This year, Begnell allegedly shared 960 images to the group with a homosexual theme, as well as some related to bestiality and bondage, she added.

He also ran a “furry” group on the Telegram service based around BDSM and his identity included a “distinctive dog mask”, Det Borg said.

Prosecutors fear Begnell could attempt to delete content from the group and police will not be able to monitor his online activity on the encrypted platform if he is granted bail.

Begnell is originally from New South Wales, and with no family in Victoria, there are concerns he could abscond.

The bail hearing will continue at a later date.


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