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back in the dock Pervert who had sex chats with 10-year-old boys pleads guilty to having indecent images of children

McCollum admitted six counts of possessing indecent images of children


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A predatory pervert previously jailed for using social media to have explicit sex chats with two ten-year-old boys was back in court today to admit to having indecent images of children. 

Appearing at Antrim Crown Court by videolink from the offices of McIvor Farrell solicitors, 22-year-old Michael McCollum entered guilty pleas to each of the eight charges against him.

Originally from Carnlough but now with an address at a south Belfast hostel on the Ormeau Road, McCollum admitted six counts of possessing indecent images of children and two of having prohibited images of children with all of the offences committed between 28 January 2018 and 11 June 2018.

Following McCollum’s admissions, defence solicitor advocate Paul Farrell revealed the offending images had been uncovered on devices seized during an earlier investigation when the pervert was found to be engaging in explicit online chats with two young schoolboys.

He further revealed that McCollum is already on the police sex offenders, is “currently going through a probation order” with two years of it still to run and is “subject to public protection matters in the community as well.”

Those orders were put in place when McCollum was handed a four and a half year sentence for sex offences in March last year, split between 18 months in jail and three years on licence.

In that case McCollum, from Curragh Hill in Carnlough, had pleaded guilty to to a total of 17 sex offences including five counts of breaching an earlier SOPO, six counts of making or possessing prohibited and indecent images of children at categories A and B, two counts of sexual communication with a child and four counts of causing or inciting the boys to engage in sexual acts or watch sexual acts, all committed on various dates between 31 December 2018 and 1 March 2019.

When he was jailed, prosecuting counsel Suzanne Gallagher told the court how the PSNI were alerted to McCollum’s sickening online activities by Lancashire police after they had been contacted by the parents of two ten-year-old boys who had discovered that a man with the moniker “almost there 19” had befriended them and chatting to them via Instagram.

“Sexually graphic cartoon picture messages had been sent along with sexual communication where the male involved had masturbated via video chat with a boy and had actively encouraged both boys to perform sexual acts on themselves so that he could watch,” said the lawyer.

By interrogating web service providers, Lancashire cops were able to trace the IP address to McCollum’s home in Carnlough which was then raided by the PSNI who seized numerous electronic devices, the possession of which formed part of the SOPO breaches.

Examinations of those devices uncovered that McCollum had downloaded and saved eight images at category A and further images at categories B and C.

Category A, she explained, showed images involving penetrative sexual acts coupled with sadism or bestiality, those at B portrayed showed penetrative sex while those at C involved children “modelling” in clothing.

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Arrested and interviewed, McCollum told police “he had no friends or support at home” so he had gone online and met the boys.

Ms Gallagher outlined how he claimed he “intended to talk to them about gaming but soon his weakness would show and sexually explicit messages would be sent and requests for video chats where masturbation could take place.”

In court today, Mr Farrell confirmed to Judge Patricia Smyth there was no evidence that McCollum had distributed the images or had used file sharing software and highlighted that at 22, “he is still a pretty young man.”

“Very young but with a pretty serious record Mr Farrell,” replied the judge who ordered a probation pre-sentence report and adjourned passing sentence until 14 September, freeing McCollum on bail in the meantime.

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