bad case | 

Pervert foster mum convicted of 'sexting' and grooming schoolgirl (14) avoids jail

The judge said Amanda McClean deserved to go to prison, but her disabled son was the only reason she was being freed

Amanda McClean

Paul Higgins

A disgraced foster mum — convicted of ‘sexting’ and grooming a teenage girl — has narrowly avoided jail.

The judge said Amanda McClean deserved to go to prison for what she had done, but it was with “some reluctance’’ that he considered there were exceptional circumstances.

Those related to her family — the court was told the 50-year-old’s disabled son would have to go into the care system if she was put behind bars.

But the judge told the pervert foster mum from Sleepy Valley in Richhill, he wanted to make it “crystal clear that it is the care of your son that’s keeping you out of prison’’.

The court was told the child “needs a considerable amount of care and attention.”

However, McClean was warned not to reoffend because “this chance will not be repeated”.

Following a week-long trial McClean was convicted of six offences committed in 2018 including sexual communication with a child, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and meeting a child following sexual grooming.

The victim was a 14-year-old schoolgirl.

The alarm was raised when teachers at the teenager’s school seized her mobile phone and when her mother checked through it, she saw “numerous examples of sexualised conversation going to and from” her phone.

“The person sending the messages indicates that a relationship would be inappropriate but then ends the text saying I love you,’’ a previous hearing was told.

Other messages were “indicative of an understanding between the parties that they were engaging in a sex act at the same time while texting each other.”

McClean had told the girl “I can’t wait to get at you properly. It’s going to be mind-blowing. I’m horny as f***.”

McClean denied the messages had come from her but the jury was told the phone number, registered to a Joe Bloggs, was also registered to the defendant’s address. The SIM card used was also ordered online using the defendant’s internet provider address.

On Wednesday, Newry Crown Court was told that McClean’s grooming had been “so successful” that initially, the victim had tried to cover for her, claiming she and another girl had been exchanging messages.

The judge said there were no mitigating features about McClean or the offences which he branded “reprehensible”, but there were multiple aggravating features including lack of remorse and the age difference.

Even though there was no actual physical sexual contact, “it’s a bad case of its kind” he said.

McClean was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for life, is barred from working with children, and was handed a seven-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

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