A known sex offender was sent to prison after obtaining the mobile number of a 14 year old girl and traumaticising her with explicit phonecalls.
In the phonecalls, 24-year-old James Carragher asked the girl if she was wearing her school uniform, and what she was wearing underneath it.
At Banbridge Court last week, Carragher, of Plantation Road in Bleary, pleaded guilty to intentionally inciting a female child under 16 to engage in sexual activity, harrassment, sending a false message and breaching the Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
A PPS Prosecutor told the court how on January 3, 2012, police received a complaint from a 14-year-old girl who had been receiving nuisance phonecalls from a withheld number to her mobile phone.
She stated that the phonecalls had started on December 30 and were occurring on a daily basis. She claimed the calls were always of a sexual nature and typically began with the caller asking what she was wearing under her clothes and if she was wearing her school uniform.
Carragher then asked a sexually explicit question, telling the girl he was turned on by the sound of her voice. He then asked the girl to attend a number of locations in Banbridge for sexual intercourse.
The court heard as a result of Carragher’s calls, the victim was traumatised, the ordeal affected her school life andshe was so scared she had to sleep at night with her sister.
Checks were carried out on the mobile phone, an unidentified unregistered pay-as-you-go mobile linked to two credit cards.
Police called to an address in Gilford and spoke to Carragher. He denied the allegations and a search revealed a Barclaycard bank statement which matched what was used to top up the mobile phone. However, no mobile was found during the search.
In relation to the fourth charge of breaching the Sexual Offences Prevention Order by having a mobile phone in his possession, Carragher said he had used one to speak to his father.
His solicitor said Carragher was obtaining gratification through the phonecalls but stressed that the pair never met up. He stated that Carragher was aware of the fact that his behaviour needed to be addressed and he was taking active steps while in prison. These included a full time education programme, work and counselling.
Deputy District Judge Ms Benita Boyd said she couldn’t ignore the high risk of re-offending and the risk to the public. She brought two suspended sentences into force and jailed Carragher, who has spent the last six and half months in custody, for a total of seven months.