January 2019

Youth football coach from Larne pleads guilty to sexually grooming a girl

A youth football coach was placed on the sex offenders register on Thursday after he confessed to sexually abusing a teenage schoolgirl he had groomed.

Larne man 34-year-old John Workman had been on trial accused of 10 sex offences at Antrim Crown Court when defence QC Terence McDonald asked for him to be rearraigned on four of them.

Standing in the dock, Workman, from Craighyhill, said simply “guilty” to charges of meeting a child following sexual grooming and three of sexual activity with a child aged 13-16, all committed on various dates between March 1 and October 16, 2014.

The particulars of the grooming offence reveal that he met the girl “following sexual grooming” in that “at the time of doing so he intended to do an act to or in respect of that person during or after the meeting which would involve the commission of a relevant offence.

Following the confessions, prosecuting counsel told the court he was satisfied the guilty pleas reflect Workman’s “culpability” and added that it wasn’t in the “interests of justice to proceed” with the other counts.

Directing the jury to convict as “guilty by confession”, Judge Brian Sherard further ordered the jury to acquit him of the remaining offences as “no evidence” had been offered by the Crown.

As well as a victim impact report, the judge ordered a pre-sentence probation report to be written about Workman.

Freeing Workman on continuing bail, Judge Sherard said he would now have to be placed on the police sex offenders register and adjourned passing sentence until February 28.