Pint-sized pervert who shared child abuse clips dupes kind-hearted people on GoFundMe

Martin Stapleton was pleading for financial support to help him get accommodation in Dublin after prison release
Martin Stapleton’s Go Fund Me page was shut down

Martin Stapleton’s Go Fund Me page was shut down

Patrick O'Connell

Pint-sized pervert Martin Stapleton has been forced to shut down a GoFundMe page seeking funds to help him get accommodation in Dublin after details of his sick past were shared online.

The vile voyeur - who was convicted of sharing videos online of a child being raped - had built up a following of more than 1,000 people on social media site Twitter before he began asking for money to help him secure a home.

In a post on his account, Stapleton had asked of his followers: "Has anyone got a spare room in Dublin city centre if possible.

"I am homeless in a shelter.

"I am clean non-smoker and easy going.

"Just a place where I can have some space, have a decent sit-down meal, a nice shower in the mornings.

"Any help would be much appreciated."

Stapleton leaving prison

Stapleton leaving prison

After well-intentioned well-wishers began sharing Stapleton's tweet in the hope of getting him housed, he quickly began soliciting donations on GoFundMe.

He managed to raise €1,130 before people identified him and began linking his appeal to an article the Sunday World published in May of last year following his release from Arbour Hill prison.

After the article was shared amongst Stapleton's followers, he denied that he would have moved into a property where children are living.

"I would have not went or taking any homes with kids [sic]," he wrote.

"I no what I can do and can't do under the law"[sic].

Stapleton later apologised for not being honest with his followers.

"Everyone, I am truly sorry of not been 100% honest with people about my past," he wrote.

"Yes, I do have a past conviction and I am sorry I didn't tell anyone of my past.

"But my situation stands as a homeless person.

"I am in the process of getting onto and refund."

Stapleton's GoFundMe was subsequently closed.

Martin Stapleton - perv - Patrick O'Connell story

Martin Stapleton - perv - Patrick O'Connell story

A message on the site reads: "This fundraiser is no longer accepting donations."

Stapleton, who served just 18 months behind bars, had emerged from the prison hiding behind a face mask, wearing sunglasses and baseball cap after being warned before walking through the gates that our team was outside.

A waiting car then whisked him away before we could confront him.

At his sentencing hearing in October 2019, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard how Stapleton distributed the same child abuse video on three occasions.

The then 30-year-old pleaded guilty to distributing child pornography and possessing child pornography at his address in Glenmore Green, Ballyboden on July 17, 2014 and July 1, 2015 respectively.

Garda Alan Young told John Berry BL, prosecuting, that gardaí received information on June 30, 2015 from police in Merseyside in the UK.

The information was to the effect that someone at Stapleton's address had sent indecent images via Skype to a person who had been arrested in the United Kingdom.

Martin Stapleton’s post on GoFundMe, looking for accommodation in the Dublin area

Martin Stapleton’s post on GoFundMe, looking for accommodation in the Dublin area

Gardaí searched the house the following day and seized a number of electronic devices.

Some 119 images and 18 videos of child pornography were discovered across all of these devices.

Detective Garda Donagh Mannix told Mr Berry that he was able to recover details of conversations and files that were shared by the accused on Skype.

Det Gda Mannix said that on three separate occasions Stapleton sent a video of child pornography to three different locations.

He said the video showed a female child being orally raped by an adult man.

A message criticising his appeal for cash

A message criticising his appeal for cash

During interviews with gardaí, Stapleton admitted to possessing and distributing the material, but denied that he had ever touched a child inappropriately.

He had no previous convictions and officers said had not come to adverse Garda attention since.

Gda Young agreed with Patrick McGrath SC, defending, that the four-year delay in prosecuting the case could not be attributed to his client.

He agreed that Stapleton was "selling his body on the street" at the age of 15 to obtain money and food.

Sentencing Stapleton to two years in prison, Judge Martin Nolan noted that the devices could not be examined at the time they were seized by reason of lack of resources.

He said that to have this type of charge hanging over someone was onerous.

He said had the matter been dealt with expeditiously, the sentence would have been in the region of three years' imprisonment.

Today's Headlines

More Irish Crime

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices