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phone top-ups Irish pensioner faces 20 years in Spanish jail after allegedly grooming children for 'sexual favours'

Spanish prosecutors are seeking sentences totalling 19-and-a-half years for seven alleged offences

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 (stock photo)

(stock photo)

(stock photo)

AN IRISH OAP has been warned he faces being jailed for nearly 20 years if convicted of sex crimes against youngsters he allegedly gifted mobile phone top-ups and Amazon presents to in return for "sexual favours."

The 71-year-old was held in the Costa del Sol resort of Benalmadena in October 2020 on suspicion of crimes including sexual abuse and attempted sexual abuse and corruption of minors.

He had initially been arrested the previous December for allegedly molesting a youngster, but re-arrested after detectives analysed his phone and found evidence pointing to more children being targeted.

Today it emerged Spanish state prosecutors are seeking prison sentences totalling 19.5 years for seven offences.

The highest single prison sentence they are demanding is a six-year jail term if he is convicted of a crime of aggravated corruption of minors. He has also been charged with crimes categoried under the Spanish penal code as sexual abuse, attempted sexual abuse, corruption of minors and attempted corruption of minors.

The punishment prosecutors are asking for in case of conviction is laid out in a three-page indictment submitted to the court in Malaga where he is due to be tried.

His trial is reportedly due to take place later this week. It is not known where in Ireland he is from.

The offences he has been charged with are alleged to have been committed against four children aged between 14 and 17.

Prosecutors say he asked one 15-year-old boy he had allegedly befriended by giving him gifts including money after a chance meeting on the street in Fuengirola to massage him before trying to force his hand down his trousers.

He also got his alleged victim to send him photos of his private parts and videos of him performing sex acts in exchange for a monthly “pocket money” payment of €40.

The alleged pervert is accused of asking him to measure his manhood after buying the child a €2,000 computer, with the youngster “pushing him away” after he ended up touching it.

He allegedly tried to get another youngster to send him photos of his private parts after offering him gifts - before “pulling the child’s trousers down by surprise from behind” after inviting him to his home and taking his clothes off.

The indictment says: “At the beginning of 2019 the accused contacted a youngster who was then 17 and began to gift him things like mobile phone top-ups or online games, asking him in return for photos or videos of his private parts.

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“Between the months of August and September 2019 the accused contacted another youngster by phone and sent him an Amazon gift voucher and €5 in mobile phone credit in exchange for a video of his private parts.”

The Irishman was bailed following his arrest before being charged after a lengthy probe by an investigating judge.

As well as a prison sentence if convicted of the crimes he has been accused of, he is expected to face fines and restraining orders preventing him from contacting or going near the children he allegedly targeted.

A spokesman for Spain’s National Police said at the time of the arrest nearly two years ago: “Officers have held a 69-year-old Irishman in Benalmadena for his alleged involvement in crimes of child pornography, corruption of minors and and sexual abuse.

“He was arrested in December for allegedly sexually abusing a child in the same town and an exhaustive analysis of his mobile phone has now led to the identification of four other youngsters who were targeted.

“The detainee is suspected of gaining their confidence through gifts including mobile phone credits, the purchase of online games, cinema tickets and money.

“The gifts were designed to entice them into sending him explicit material of a sexual nature or even agreeing to meetings with him.

“The investigation began in December after a woman contacted police to say her son had received messages from a man who asked for intimate photos of him and said he would give him presents if he met up with him.”

The force added in a statement: “The suspect appears to have taken advantage of the financial situation of the families of the children, obtaining sexual favours from them in a wide spectrum of situations including indecently molesting at least one of the children.

“He was arrested and a search of his home led to the seizure of computer equipment which is now in the process of being analysed.”

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