A former Royal Marine who was previously jailed in England for approaching thousands of teenage boys for explicit images has now been handed a six-month sentence for seedy sex offences in Northern Ireland.
Creepy Co Antrim man Patrick McDonald (26) spied on people in a supermarket toilet in Co Armagh and gym showers on the outskirts of Belfast.
Appearing at Craigavon Magistrates Court by video-link from prison, the court heard about two separate incidents — one at Tesco Extra store where the pervert was working and another at the David Lloyd gym in Dundonald.
The court heard that on November 5 last year, the victim and McDonald were both working in the Tesco store and had gone to the toilet separately.
When the victim received a Snapchat from a friend he opened the app and when his front camera activated, he could see the defendant looking over the top of the cubicle filming him.
Four months earlier, on July 17 and 19 last year, there had been two similar incidents at David Lloyd’s gym.
The lawyer said in the first incident, McDonald peered over the cubicle wall but ran away. In the second incident two days later, the gym user noticed a shadow in the cubicle next to him but no running water.
McDonald, the court heard, was able to get away and out of the changing rooms because he was clothed while his victim was naked.
In January 2018, McDonald, with an address on the Ardmore Road in Crumlin, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison at Reading Crown Court following a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation.
That NCA investigation uncovered McDonald’s sustained campaign where using fake Facebook profiles posing as girls, he approached thousands of boys online in a bid to get them to send him indecent images of themselves.
In addition to the jail sentence, McDonald was also placed on the police sex offender’s register for life and put under an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.
In court on Friday, defence counsel Ben Thompson conceded that McDonald is in custody after his prison release licence was revoked as a result of the offences in the gym and Tesco.
“Both cases involve him sticking his head over cubicle dividers… it was not sophisticated, they were adult males with no underlying vulnerabilities but this was a breach of their privacy.
“This is a degree educated man. He then joined the Royal Marines, he found that environment stifling during a time when he had very private personal issues,” said the lawyer.
Imposing jail sentences totalling six months, District Judge Bernie Kelly told McDonald he could consider himself lucky as she had had initally considered a somewhat longer sentence.
McDonald was also ordered to sign the sex offender’s register for seven years.
Pervert jailed in England for a sustained campaignof grooming young boys
A child sex offender from Co Antrim has been jailed in England for a sustained campaign in which he approached thousands of boys online in a bid to get them to send him indecent images of themselves.
Patrick McDonald (23), from Crumlin, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison at Reading Crown Court following a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation.
Speaking at the court on Friday, Judge Grainger said McDonald had targeted “thousands of children”, adding: “The scale of the offending was breathtaking.”
The NCA is working with the police to identify and safeguard the children targeted by McDonald, who was also placed on the sex offender’s register for life and put under an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.
McDonald attempted to establish contact with potential victims online using Facebook profiles, posing as fictitious teenage girls.
If they replied to his first approach, McDonald would quickly begin sending sexual messages including explicit pictures of women’s bodies.
He incited a number of children to send him indecent pictures of themselves and in many cases to engage in sexual activity.
Following McDonald’s arrest he admitted to NCA officers he had offended against at least 500 victims, though the real number is believed to be higher.
He pleaded guilty last year to making indecent images of children and inciting children to engage in sexual acts. The NCA has found no evidence that McDonald committed contact offences.
Facebook provided information which assisted with the investigation.