October 2021

Paedophile told schoolgirls to ‘pat him down’ for a fiver

A convicted paedophile repeatedly met up with three little girls in a Wirral cemetery despite being banned from such contact with any child.

Michael Mooney, 52, was jailed for nine years in 2005 for child sex abuse and an order made to keep him away from youngsters was renewed in April 2012 – but a court has heard he has now persistently breached it by meeting up with the girls.

The devastated mum of one of the girls told a judge about the impact Mooney had on her daughter and their family.

While Mooney did not molest the children Judge David Potter said: “As to your ultimate intent I cannot exclude it was for sexual gratification. There is clearly evidence of grooming behaviour.”

Mooney, of Old Chester Road, Rock Ferry, who admitted breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, was jailed for three years and four months and ordered to sign on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

Rebecca Smith, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court on Friday that his breach of the order came to light after a 10 year old girl told her social worker about a man she had regularly encountered in Bebington cemetery

She told of occasions when she, along with another 10 year old girl and an eight year old friend, were playing in the cemetery, which is attached to a park, and had encounters with Mooney in May and June this year.

It began when he asked if he could stroke the dog which two of them had with them and he then followed them and stared at them.

A few days later they made a den and Mooney, who told them he was 26, approached asking about it and within days they met him again.

He was exercising doing press-ups and the girls asked if he could spin them around by their legs while they held onto a branch which he did.

On a later occasion two of them took a small tent to the cemetery and Mooney asked if he could join them in the tent.

When asked if he had a girlfriend he said he had one who was 14 years old and they “had touched body parts.” He spent five to 10 minutes in the tent with them, said Miss Smith.

On another occasion they met him by some local shops and they asked him for some money which he gave them and was spent on sweets.

About five days later they met him again and after asking for money he said the cash was “stashed” on him and told them to search him and to “pat him down”.

They asked if it was in his boxer shorts and he flicked the waistband and gave them £5, which was not the first time he had given them money, said Miss Smith.

After this encounter, a social worker told the 10-year-old’s mum what she had been told by her daughter.

The mum and other members of the community confronted him and detained him until the police arrived.

The mum told the judge the incidents had “a massive impact on my whole family. I feel I have failed my daughter although I know that is not the case.”

She said: “She has changed from being a happy child to being angry, she was never like this before.”

Staring at Mooney she said he had been waiting in the cemetery “preying on my daughter and other children. He is a child predator.”

The court heard that when interviewed Mooney said he went to the park to exercise and the children had approached him and “it was an unavoidable situation.”

In sentencing Judge Potter said: “I have heard you are sorry. I consider you are more sorry for about your own position than the impact your offending has caused.”