Sex offender spoke to teen on park bench

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A 48-year-old man who broke a court order by speaking with a teenage boy on a park bench in Portadown was jailed last Wednesday at Craigavon Magistrates Court.

Thomas McDonagh, whose address was given as Sydney Lane, Aughnacloy, pleaded guilty to one charge.

He admitted that on August 10 this year being the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) he was in close proximity to a young child, an act he was prevented from performing.

The court heard that at 12.10pm the offence happened in the Peoples Park in Portadown close to the football pitch.

There were children in the park and two young boys were playing football.

McDonagh was sitting on a bench and he beckoned one of the boys to sit beside him before engaging in conversation with him for five minutes.

The boy was 16 years of age at the time.

A condition of his SOPO was that he was not to have unsupervised contact with young people under the age of 18.

When arrested McDonagh said: “I’m very sorry.”

Defence barrister Conor Coulter said his client had been in custody since he was arrested and this had been a salutary lesson for him.

He added that McDonagh had become tired, sat down on a park bench and that resulted in this conversation.

District Judge Amanda Brady said the SOPO had not long been in place and he had breached it already.

She imposed a four month jail term and ordered him to pay a £25 offender’s levy.