Northern Ireland sex offenders using multiple aliases to avoid detection

Sick perverts like the ‘Beast of Broughshane’ Peter Clyde have changed their names after being convicted of child sex offences.

Serial offender Thomas McDonagh is among those using dual identities

Steven Moore and Tanya FowlesSunday World

The police say it’s too costly to reveal how many sex offenders in Northern Ireland like the ‘Beast of Broughshane’ are sneakily using multiple identities.

The Sunday World had become aware sick perverts like the ‘Beast of Broughshane’ Peter Clyde have changed their names after being convicted of child sex offences.

As revealed by the Sunday World, Clyde, who was convicted in 2018 of sending sordid sex chat to a ‘child’, changed his name years ago from his true identity Richard Smith after a previous child sex offence.

Twisted Clyde sent seedy messages to what he believed to be a 14-year-old boy called ‘Stevie’ but who was in fact a ‘decoy’ acting for a group of self-styled paedophile hunters.

Some messages were too graphic to be read out in court but one message Clyde sent to the ‘child’ stated he wanted to “tie you up... drive you somewhere quiet... strip you”.

During that hearing it emerged he had previous convictions for sex offences including one for committing gross indecency with a child dating back over a decade ago.

The first man to ever be charged with paying for sex has been convicted of attempted sexual communication with a child. Peter David Clyde appeared at Ballymena Magistrates’ Court on Monday accompanied by his mother

It’s understood this is when he changed his name from Richard Smith to Peter Clyde but as the Sunday World revealed he has continued to use both aliases and had social medial profiles in both names running throughout his trial.

He even posted pictures of himself days after he pleaded guilty which showed him with a bloodied face after he had been assaulted at the famous Game of Thrones setting The Dark Hedges after locals caught him chatting up teenage boys.

And sadly, Category 3 sex offender Clyde, now among just a handful of sex offenders who is deemed so likely to reoffend they can only be managed by a special centralised PSNI unit, is not alone in this.

Other perverts trying to ‘reinvent’ themselves include notorious Co Tyrone child sex offender Thomas McDonagh and Category 3 sex offender Richard McCrea.

We believe there are many more but the PSNI say it’s too costly to reveal who they are.

The PSNI refused to answer a Freedom of Information request into sex-offenders with dual identities, contending the cost to do so exceeds the appropriate limit.

They were asked to provide the number of persons currently subject to sexual offender notification requirements and of these how many have registered different names alongside those they were convicted under.

While the PSNI confirmed it holds this information the response read: “It is estimated that the cost of complying with this request would exceed the appropriate cost limit.”

It continued: “The Freedom of Information Act allows a public authority to refuse to deal with a request where it estimates it would exceed the appropriate limit to either comply with the request in its entirety or confirm or deny whether the requested information is held.

“The ‘appropriate limit’ is currently £600 for central government and £450 for all other authorities including PSNI.”

Under these regulations the PSNI: “Calculate the time spent at £25 per hour … and takes more than 18 hours, will be in excess of the appropriate limit.”

In specific reference to dual identity sex-offenders, the PSNI advised: “The figures are not held in a readily retrievable format and would require manual interrogation of the database for each of the individual nominal records.”

It was further contended some records will have been: “Since archived and (other persons) may have left the Northern Ireland jurisdiction at some time.”

The PSNI claimed such a search would require at least 30 hours work.

Despite this we have identified a number of sex-offenders using dual names, some of whom the PSNI have confirmed they are aware of.

Repeat offender Bernard Thomas McDonagh who is currently awaiting sentencing at Dungannon Crown Court under the name Brian Joseph McDonagh, for his latest breach of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).

He was made subject to the SOPO in 2019 due to repeated offending, the terms of which prohibit him being near child centred activities such as schools and playgrounds.

Due to other sexualised offending is also banned from hospitals or premises providing medical care without prior appointments and post-discharge.

McDonagh had only been released from prison for similar offending in January this year when school staff spotted him loitering at the premises close to his home in Sydney Lane, Aughnacloy.

Despite the recidivist nature of offending he has been was permitted to continue residing at his home while on bail.

The PSNI have confirmed they are aware McDonagh uses both identities.

Elsewhere convicted sex-offender Richard McCrea who was assessed as a Category 3 sex-offender – the highest level - breached a SOPO within hours of release from a prison sentence for posing as a 17-year-old on social media in an attempt to contact a female child, which was imposed at Antrim Crown Court.

On release to reside in a Belfast hostel in 2019, McCrea breached the SOPO by purchasing an internet-enabled smartphone within two hours, “despite being expressly told not to.”

Earlier this year he surfaced in Armagh Magistrates Court for a fraud offence but now under the name David Richard Hatch.

Currently residing at Dobbins Grove, Armagh he is in the process of gathering funds to repay a woman who authorised him to withdrawn £200 from her bank, but instead he took £500.

When asked if Hatch is in fact McCrea the PSNI confirmed: “This is the same person and police are well aware of the individual changing his name.”

The PSNI were asked if such dual identities impact on the hard-fought for Child Protection Disclosure Scheme a spokesperson said: "Under part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, and section 64 of Justice Act (NI) 2015, convicted sexual and violent offenders subject to notification requirements must notify Police of any name change within 3 days of doing so.

“The name change is updated on Police databases and on the national database for the management of sexual and relevant violent offenders. The previous name will still be retained.

“The Child Protection Disclosure scheme is another method of disclosing conviction information under the Public Protection Arrangements for Northern Ireland (PPANI), to manage sexual and violent offenders.

“Agencies with public protection and child protection roles – police, probation, social services – already disclose information about criminal convictions when it is necessary to protect a child.

“Disclosure in these circumstances can only take place where it is deemed that the person presents a risk to a child residing in Northern Ireland. Additionally, any such disclosure can only take place to the person who has responsibility for the child and/or is best placed to safeguard the child, e.g. a parent, carer orguardian."

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