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'Irish Mick' sex offender refused bail in Belfast after communicating with boy

The man is charged with breaching the terms of a prevention order by having contact with a male child.

Image: PA

A 26-YEAR-OLD CONVICTED sex offender in Belfast has been refused bail after police in Britain discovered he had been communicating with a child.

The man is charged with breaching the terms of a Sex Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) by having contact with a male child, between May and December 2021.

A detective constable told a special sitting of Belfast Magistrates Court the charge could be connected.

He explained on 19 January Devon and Cornwall Police were contacted by a close relative of the-boy who, having became suspicious of his phone activity, discovered he had been communicating with an adult male.

She noticed the child was “secretive”. Quizzed on this, the child altered his explanation on who this was.

Multiple social media accounts were found on the boy’s phone as well as an Amazon pay account which he had no need, and items were allegedly being paid for by the male.

There was also a £50 Xbox credit, vouchers for Sports Direct and iTunes, ranging from £10 to  £50 other gift cards of varying amounts.

A bank card bearing a man’s name was found linked to an account on the child’s phone.

A man’s telephone number and email address were also alleged to have been linked to contacts with the boy.

The relative provided images of all to her local police force who commenced an investigation then contacted PSNI.

He was arrested and his electronic devices were seized which on examination showed he was using Snapchat accounts under the names ‘Irish Mick’ and ‘Mick Mack’.

During interview he replied ‘co comment’ to all questions.

The detective said, “The defendant is subject to a SOPO and must notify his Designated Risk Manager of using any social media sites.

“It has been established he only had permission to use WhatsApp. He was also prohibited from taking part in any activity which afforded him access to children.”

Opposing bail the detective explained the SOPO was imposed by Downpatrick Court in January 2020.

“Which obviously he is not abiding by. Police are concerned if bailed he would not abide by conditions either.

“The defendant may have capacity for gaining access to an internet device, log on to social media and destroy evidence or contact the child, who is vulnerable.”

He said: “We are also concerned by the defendant’s escalating behaviour from his childhood as investigations are underway around allegations of sexual assaulting five children.

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“He was arrested in 2012 for rape of a child and in 2017 was convicted of possessing indecent images of children and placed under the SOPO.”

Defence for the man said he “comes from an extremely respectable background and works in his father’s accountancy firm”.

He said the “real issue is internet access” and that conditions preventing usage, would allay concerns. Three devices have been removed for investigation so they couldn’t be interfered with. His work doesn’t involve internet access and his father will oversee that as he has done in the past.”

The detective confirmed while the devices have been seized,  social media accounts could be accessed from any device, then deleted or altered.

District Judge George Connors said he was not minded to grant bail as the “risks are too great” in the case.

“I’m seriously concerned about non-compliance with the SOPO, I suspect he has more knowledge about computers than has been disclosed.”

The accused will appear by video-link before Downpatrick Magistrates Court next month.

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