February 2015

Butcher & music teacher convicted of grooming 14-year-old schoolgirl and having indecent images of her on his phone

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A LOCAL butcher and drum tutor who sexually groomed a 14-year-old schoolgirl from the Omagh district had indecent images of her on his phone.

Nigel Anthony (32), from Omagh, was convicted of meeting a child following sexual grooming and possessing four indecent photographs of her.

He committed the offences between October 1, 2012 and March 8, 2013. At Omagh Crown Court, Judge Ramsey QC said the case was “unusual” for those offences as it involved a “friendship that developed into a relationship that was entirely inappropriate.”

He also said Anthony had breached the trust of his victim and her family.

Anthony received a two year probation order and was told to take part in any programme of work imposed by his management officer during that time. He was also made subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for five years.

Two of the conditions of the SOPO were removed after an application by defence barrister Ian Turkington, instructed by solicitor Padhraic Cunningham.

Anthony will be able to use a computer and the internet as none of the offences involved that form of communication and he will also be allowed to stay overnight in addresses without informing his risk manager.

The court was told that after he befriended the female child, her parents became aware of an increase in her mobile phone bills.

It was discovered he had repeatedly called her from his phone and sent her texts and images. During police interview he made no admission to the offences. The indecent images were all Category 1.

The court was told Anthony was of previous “good character” and had no other criminal convictions. Judge Ramsey said, “This case is a long way removed from cases of its type which normally find sexual predators trolling the internet for children.

A friendship blossomed which was entirely inappropriate.”

Breach of trust The pre-sentence report indicated the defendant is of lower than average intelligence but does not have a learning disability.

He previously lived with his parents but now lives alone as he had to move after the offences came to light. He has also stopped drumming which the report stated, “is a huge loss to his life.”

The court was told all he has in his life is his work.

Referring to the pre-sentence report, Judge Ramsey added, “He has acknowledged the relationship is one that should not have happened. He has apologised to his victim, her family and his family. “

It is a salutary lesson and there are no further investigations pending. The concern is he took advantage of a physical attachment and emotional attachment with a teenage child. He breached the trust of her and her family.”

The report also indicted Anthony was not assessed as being a significant risk and there was no evidence of sexual offending prior to these offences.

The judge stated that a jail term or suspended jail sentence would not enable Anthony to address the issues that led him to commit the offences.

Defence barrister Ian Turkington took issue with two of the conditions of the SOPO and said they were “disproportionate to ensure the public is protected from any sexual harm.”

He pointed out a computer was not used in the offending and his client did not target hostels or anywhere else.

Judge Ramsey agreed with Mr Turkington’s assessment and erased two conditions from the SOPO, that ban sexual offenders from using computers without the supervision of their risk manager and staying overnight at other addresses with prior permission.

Anthony was warned he cannot contact any child under the age of 16 and not take any work, paid or voluntary, that would involve contact with children under 16 without permission from his designated risk manager.