November 2018

Man who groomed teen jailed

A 31-year-old Belfast man who groomed a teenage schoolgirl during which he orchestrated and choreographed her into sending indecent image of herself was sentenced to 28 months on Wednesday.

However, instead of dividing the sentence equally between prison and licensed parole, Judge Geoffrey Miller QC told Mark Nelson he was taking the exceptional course in which he will serve ten months custody followed by 18 months on supervised licence.

Judge Miller told Nelson, from North Gardens, had he contested the charges he would have been jailed for at least three and a half years, for inciting a child to engage in sex act, making indecent images of a child, possessing extreme pornography and possession of over 250 indecent images.

“This case highlights how pernicious and evil certain aspects of the internet can be,” said the judge, which had allowed Nelson, a social loner, to manipulate, dictate to a young schoolgirl using her and her images for his own sexual gratification, even after their affair ended.

Prosecution barrister Rosemary Walsh said that in February 2014 Nelson and the schoolgirl met on a open social chat room in which users were anonymous.

Initially she told Nelson she was 14, but was in fact aged just 13, while he claimed to be 16, but at the time was ten years older, at 26.

Within a short time the chat between them became sexual in nature and Nelson soon “planted” the seed in a “quite subtle way” of encouraging her to take “naked pictures” of herself, and to send them to him.

Ms Walsh added that the girl believed that Nelson was genuinely a teenage, although older than herself.

The lawyer said when then offences came to light, Nelson “did not deny the interaction he had with the teenager”, and readily provided his passwords for his computer and did not attempt to seek or prevent police seeing what was on it.