April 2021

Jonesborough father-of-four (40) who believed he was travelling to Belfast to meet 13-year-old girl for sex jailed for a year

A father-of four who travelled to Belfast from Co Armagh during lockdown with the intention of having sex with a 13-year old girl has been jailed for a year.

Niall David Muldoon, from Francis Jordan Park in Jonesborough, was handed a three-year sentence after he admitted two charges dating back to last June.

Judge Donna McColgan QC told the 40-year old that he will spend a year of his sentence in prison, followed by a two year period on licence.

During this licence period, Muldoon was told he will participate in the Probation Board’s Horizon programme to address his offending behaviour.

Belfast Crown Court heard that when he was arrested in the car park of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast where he thought he was meeting a 13-year old. He told police “I have kids of my own … I’m not a paedophile or anything like that.”

Prior to his arrest on June 16 2020, Muldoon embarked on a highly sexualised online conversation with a person he believed was a 13-year old girl called Abbie and which went on over four days.

Muldoon pleaded guilty to attempted sexual communication with ‘Abbie’ between June 11 and June 17 last year, and of attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming on June 16.

During the online chats Muldoon claimed he was 26 – when at the time he was 39.

He also sent images of a sexual nature to ‘Abbie’, requested she send him images in return and made an arrangement to meet her with the intention of having sexual intercourse.

‘Abbie’ was fictitious, and when Muldoon traveled to the arranged meeting in the hospital car park, he was arrested and his mobile was seized.

Requesting that Muldoon be made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, Mr Russell said there will be social services intervention regarding Muldoon’s own children.

Defence barrister Thomas O’Keefe branded the offending as “unusual”. He revealed that prior to his arrest, Muldoon’s marriage had broken down after his wife discovered he had been using online chatrooms for adult communication.

Mr O’Keefe said that when Muldoon’s marriage ended, he moved in with his parents and began excessively using alcohol and cannabis.

This, the barrister said, coupled with Muldoon’s loss of employment and the pressures of the pandemic lockdown, contributed to him acting “entirely out of character” and communicating online with ‘Abbie.’

Mr O’Keefe said that since his arrest last June, Muldoon has stopped misusing drink and drugs and has not re-offended.

The barrister concluded by telling Judge McColgan his client “has destroyed everything … he has destroyed the entire family unit.”