July 2011

Middlesbrough man convicted over child sex incitement

A SPORTS instructor who bombarded a schoolgirl with emails asking for “sexy pics” and a threesome was yesterday banned from working with children.

Andrew McQuade, 31, was given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to undergo treatment for what a judge described as his distorted thinking.

The father-of-one from Middlesbrough worked at Stokesley Leisure Centre, in North Yorkshire, at the time of the offences last year.

He claimed during a two day trial at Teesside Crown Court that he thought the girl was 16 and denied ever seeing her in school uniform.

The jury dismissed his account as lies and accepted the evidence of the 14-year-old, who insisted she even told McQuade how old she was.

He was convicted of two charges of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, but cleared of a third count on the directions of the judge.

Defence barrister Peter Johnson told the court yesterday there was no suggestion McQuade ever had any sexual contact with the teenager.

He told Judge Peter Armstrong: “This is something which occurred in cyberspace, but didn’t ever reach what one might, perhaps, call the real world.”

But the judge said: “The trouble with cyberspace is that it tends to have an effect on people in the real world.”

He imposed a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with two years of supervision and requirement to attend a sex offenders’ treatment programme.

McQuade, of Ampleforth Road, Middlesbrough, was put on the sex offenders’ register and banned from having unsupervised contact with under-18s.

The judge told him: “This didn’t lead to any actual physical contact. Had it done so, it may well be that you would be going straight to prison today.

“Had it not been for this young girl’s mother and this young girl bringing this matter to the attention of the authorities, who knows what might have happened?”

The court was told McQuade sent the messages after getting the pupil’s email address from a friend.

Mr Johnson said one of McQuade’s friends had suggested she was “up for a threesome” and his client had been encouraged by the third party.

Judge Armstrong told him: “Your career within the sports industry, certainly as far as young people are concerned, will be at an end – no doubt some considerable punishment in itself.”