Wednesday 13 November 2019

Man (43) jailed for harassing girl (13) with hundreds of 'menacing texts' and graphic pictures

Criminal Courts of Justice
Criminal Courts of Justice

Conor Gallagher

A man who sent photographs of his intimate body parts to a 13-year-old girl and asked her for sex has been jailed for 18 months.

Terence Weldredge (43) admitted carrying out the harassment, sexual exploitation and sending of menacing messages to the girl. Over a two day period he attempted to contact her 273 times.

Weldredge of Castlekevin Road, Coolock, Dublin 5,pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the three offences which occurred between September 2011 and January 2012.

The girl said in a victim impact report that Weldredge harassed her “24/7” and that she couldn't sleep or concentrate at school because of him. She said she felt depressed and alone and was teased by her friends about the messages.

She described how she attempted to take her life but was saved when her brother walked in and found her.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring suspended the last 18 months of a three year jail sentence on condition that Weldredge continue to attend psychotherapy or other services as directed by the Probation Services.

The court heard Weldredge also tried to take his life after being caught and that he suffers from mental health difficulties brought about by drug abuse. His defence counsel submitted that he has a low level of intelligence and is very remorseful about the harassment.

Garda Katie Flood told prosecuting counsel Cathleen Noctor BL that the child got a text from Weldredge in September 2011. He said he had found her number written on a bus and that he was 15-years-old. The two began texting and she sent him a full clothed picture of herself at his request.

He began to ask her for phone sex and to send her pictures of his penis. He also sent her a photo of a man in a balaclava with a gun.

He told her he wanted to have sex with her and that he would buy her alcohol. He sent her a picture of a teddy bear and said “I love you” before asking her to “have his baby”. He was aware she was 13 at this time.

In January 2013, he sent her a picture of his face and the girl could see that he wasn’t a teenager.

She called him a liar and told him to stop texting her. Over the following two days he called or texted her 272 times. The contact only stopped when she went to gardaí and they took her phone.

Weldredge was arrested and made some admissions. However he said he believed the girl was around 20 and he couldn’t remember what he said to her because he was taking ecstasy at the time.

“I feel like I made a prick of myself, like a paedophile,” he told gardaí.

Defence counsel Una Ní Raifeartaigh SC said her client suffered institutional abuse when he was growing up and that this has affected him throughout his life. She said his drug and alcohol abuse was a consequence of this. She said he has limited intellectual and social capacity.

In suspending the 18 months Judge Ring noted the Weldredge’s co-operation with the Probation Services and his efforts to deal with his substance abuse issues.

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