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predator caged Serial sex offender who set up new life in England to groom kids is jailed

Callum Townsend previously tried to sue Google to hide his twisted past


Callum Townsend

Callum Townsend

Callum Townsend

THIS is the police mugshot of one of Ulster's most dangerous perverts who set up a new life in England to groom children.

Serial sex pest and now convicted paedophile Callum Townsend (29) is behind bars after attempting to sexually lure two schoolboys through job adverts for his Manchester coffee shop.

The Co Derry-born predator - who once tried to sue Google in a bid to have his sick sex offending history wiped from the net - had moved across the water where he started up a cafe business after scamming multiple business owners in Northern Ireland.

Within months of beginning his 'new' life, the sicko, who is originally from Magherafelt, began targeting teenage boys for what a judge said was for his own "voyeuristic and perverted" pleasure.

He was jailed for just over three years at Bolton Crown Court last month where he was described as a "manipulative and scheming liar".

The court heard how Townsend posted a job listing in October 2018, asking people from all walks of life to apply for employment at a new café in Oldham town centre.

A woman messaged Townsend and asked if the work would be suitable for her 15-year-old son.

At this point, he asked for the boy's phone number, the court heard.

Townsend spoke to the boy on WhatsApp, before moving the conversation to Snapchat - where messages disappear a short time after being sent and received.

Speaking over several days, the conversations became "overly friendly", according to Mr Toal.

Townsend initiated conversations on topics such as masturbation and asked the 15-year-old for a photograph in his underwear.

Believing that the job offer was still on the table, the boy continued to speak with Townsend for a number of days before eventually blocking him.

The boy had also put a friend in contact with Townsend.

Townsend also attempted to groom the second 15-year-old boy, asking for indecent photographs and having sexualised conversations.

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At one point the boy asked Townsend if he would stop asking for photos if he sent one in his boxer shorts, to which Townsend agreed.

Despite sending the photograph, Townsend carried on and asked for further photo. He blamed the behaviour on being drunk.

The boy eventually told his mum and after speaking with the first boy's mum, the police were informed.

In a victim impact statement heard at Bolton Crown Court, the first boy said the incident had left him anxious, stressed and embarrassed, while his friend said he struggled to sleep and had become more shy.

The court heard that Townsend has previous convictions in Northern Ireland for harassment, sexual harm prevention order breaches and fraud.

Some of his previous convictions related to him posing as a teenage girl to speak to teenage boys online.

Defending, lawyer Rachel White said that the offending had taken place over a relatively short period of time - eight days.

She said that Townsend was "ashamed and embarrassed" of his behaviour and that he had struggled to come to terms with his sexuality, having grown up in a "conservative household".

Ms White added that he suffers with depression and other mental health problems.

Townsend initially did not turn up for his trial but after he was arrested and brought before the court, he pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual communication with a child, one count of enticing a child to send an indecent image, and one count of attempting to entice a child to send an indecent image.

Judge John Potter described Townsend, now 29, of Ashfields New Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, as a "manipulative and scheming liar".

He added: "You have employed dishonesty in your life to indulge in the sexual abuse of others with a view to satisfying your own voyeuristic and perverted behaviour."

Townsend was sentenced to 37 months imprisonment and was ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life.

Detective Constable Martin Wildman, who helped convict Townsend, said: "Callum Townsend was a pernicious predator who manipulated these two boys' desperation for some Saturday work by enticing them in to believe they had a chance of getting a job.

"The victims were left to feel embarrassed by their conversations with Townsend - to the point where it took weeks before bravely telling family members - when it is Townsend himself who should feel utterly ashamed of his actions, and I hope he is able to accept this during his time behind bars.

"This exploitative offending is intolerable, and while the boys and their families will never fully recover from the mental scarring of this case, I hope that today's conclusion will bring about some level of closure for them."

It was not the first time that Townsend had came to the attention of police in England.

In 2019 he appeared before North Staffordshire Justice Centre after becoming abusive in a Hanley takeaway.

Staff at the premises called police when Townsend became abusive when he was asked to leave.

Described in court as a "coffee shop owner", he pleaded guilty and was fined £50 and ordered to pay court costs.

He was not represented by a solicitor in court, but said he runs a coffee shop and is currently involved in a dispute over the lease.

In 2017, he attempted to sue Google and secure an injunction to stop it revealing his personal data and criminal history.

But he failed after a Belfast High Court judge refused him leave to serve proceedings out of the jurisdiction on the United States-based company.

Rejecting claims about misuse of private information and breach of data protection, Lord Justice Stephens backed the case for revealing unspent convictions of a "notorious recidivist".

He added: "The public interest in disclosure is also demonstrated by the fact that the plaintiff has sought to associate his name with a children's charity.

"That charity and others like it should have access at the very least to information about his unspent sexual convictions."

Previously known as Stuart Townsend and from the Magherafelt area, he has amassed more than 70 convictions since the age of 15, when he sent sexualised text messages to another boy in his class.

Only two of his convictions are spent, with offences including 14 counts of breaching his Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO), and further incidents of violence, dishonesty, disorderly behaviour and criminal damage.

The High Court heard at that time he had been imprisoned at least twice, in the last six years he has been the focus of 26 newspaper reports.

Some articles included his photograph and street address at the time of court appearances.

Townsend's repeated breaches of his SOPO also led to questions being raised in the Stormont Assembly.

In October 2012 he changed his first name by deed poll in a bid to try to escape the publicity surrounding his previous criminal activity.

By that stage he had been convicted of 52 separate offences, while a further 22 were committed under his new identity.

The SOPO was removed by order of Dungannon Magistrates Court in July 2013.

Townsend believed the Google search results, especially those related to his sexual offending as a minor, led to his home being attacked and other distressing incidents.

In 2014 he asked the company to remove 12 URLs from results produced when searching for his name, stating that the links wrongly infer he is still subject to a SOPO.

The court heard he has been assaulted and subject to death threats, while his education and employment opportunities have also suffered.

Google declined to de-list any of the URLs on the basis that the news articles in the search results remain relevant and in the public interest.

Following the firm's refusal, Townsend applied for leave to serve notice of a writ of summons out of the jurisdiction.

He also sought an injunction ordering Google to stop processing personal data which could produce search results revealing sexual offences committed by him while a child.

It was alleged that the defendant had misused private information and breached the 1998 Data Protection Act.

Google opposed his application, contending that he had failed to establish an arguable case and had no expectation of privacy.

Ruling in the company's favour, Lord Justice Stephens also held that Townsend's new identity did not create an expectation of privacy.

He said: "The simple and usual consequence of committing offences is that the offender's name will be public and an offender cannot avoid this by the device of changing his name either formally by deed poll or informally by adopting an alias."

The internet wipe bid came a year after a court heard how Townsend had ripped off more than a dozen businesses from across the North in a wedding fair scam.

In 2013 he said he had advertised a bridal fair and took money from several businesses. But the fair did not take place.

Townsend's offences included asking for money to secure a place at the fair and for advertisements which were never placed.

He also told one firm he would supply them with work in return for discounted IT services.

Victims included a wedding dress provider, wedding cake maker and a caricature artist.

He received a four month suspended jail term.

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