Saturday 14 December 2019

Teenager (18) duped schoolboys into sending indecent pictures

The judge threw out McDonagh’s claim which meant the six other claims collapsed with it and were dismissed
The judge threw out McDonagh’s claim which meant the six other claims collapsed with it and were dismissed

Michael Donnelly

A Co Down teenager who duped schoolboys into sending him indecent pictures of themselves, will discover his sentence on Thursday.

Judge Geoffrey Miller QC told 18-year-old Owen Mounsey he had hoped to pass sentence on Wednesday but that he "required a little time to reflect" on his case.

Earlier the judge also heard that the Holywood teen, who will be 19 next month, later shared some of the schoolboy pictures in various states of undress with a Dutchman on-line who'd tutored him on how to get others to pose for him.

In all Mounsey admitted a total of 48 charges between 2014 and 2016 when he was arrested at his Station Road home in the Co Down seaside town following a joint investigation by the National Crime Agency and PSNI.

Prosecution lawyer Simon Jenkins said when officers arrived at his home, Mounsey readily admitted it was him they were looking for, and handed over his iPhone, laptop computer and two USB sticks.

However, while he initially made a 'no comment' interview, he later asked to speak to detectives again, telling them he first saw such images in chat rooms when he was 16, before later trolling the 'dark web' himself for other images.

Mr Jenkins further revealed that Mounsey had tricked the others, aged 11 to 12, to send him images of themselves, in various states of undress, with promises of video game credits, and continued to do so even when on police bail.

The teenager also accepted that while he downloaded hundreds of images of child sex abuse, he had also "inadvertently" downloaded what Judge Miller described as "insidious and evil" manuals on how to "ingratiate" yourself with youngsters and sexually abuse them.

Mr Jenkins added that of the total of 954 images and 54 videos recovered from the various devices, almost a third were in the most serious Category A.

One of which showed a boy aged four or five being abused.

The lawyer said the aggravating features of the case were Mounsey's targeting of other youngsters, distributing some of the material he was given, and continuing to view images even whilst on police bail.

Defence counsel Barry Gibson said that while Mounsey fell to be dealt with as an adult, what occurred took place when he was still a youth, aged 14 to 17 and at a time he was confused about his gender.

Mr Gibson said the teenager made no threats to others, and immediately accepted his guilt, telling officers who came to his home, 'its me you are looking for'.

He added that a number of reports, both psychiatric and probation, indicated that since then, "this has been a difficult journey for him, but he has come out a better person for it".

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