July 2023

Pervert sexually abused a girl with learning difficulties

A trainee mechanic who groomed a vulnerable girl with learning difficulties for his own sexual gratification has been jailed for eight months.

It later transpired that right wing South East Antrim UDA (Ulster loyalist paramilitary group) protected the pervert against any attack for a fee of a £5k payout

Bradley Paul William McGarrell (20), of Doonbeg Drive, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, was told by Belfast Recorder Judge Patricia Smyth that he would spend a further 16 months on supervised licence in an effort to deal with his future risks with women and to protect the public.

McGarrell had pleaded guilty to charges of meeting a child following sexual grooming, sexual communication with a child and causing a child to watch sexual activity.

He further admitted four charges of sexual activity with a child.

Prosecuting barrister Kate McKay told Belfast Crown Court the defendant first made contact with the victim by sending “sexually explicit messages, pictures and videos” over Snapchat and Instagram and claimed to be aged 14.

She told the Belfast Recorder that the offences came to light on August 25 2021, when the victim left her home around 3.30 pm and went to an area known locally as ‘The Glenn’ in Newtownabbey where sexual activity occurred.

“The victim has been diagnosed with ADHD, Tourette’s Syndrome and modern learning difficulties. When she returned home she told her mother she had had sex with a boy named ‘Bradley’ who was around 14 years old.”

The prosecutor said the victim’s mother carried out her own research on social media and located the defendant and the 13-year-old confirmed that this was the male she had met.”

Her parents were concerned that ‘Bradley’ was older than 14 and contacted police.

It turned out that the defendant was 18-years-old. He was arrested the following day and denied the allegations and provided a buccal (DNA) swab to police.

The victim told police she had first met the defendant on August 23, 2021, outside a store in Newtownabbey where she gave him her Snapchat details.

McGarrell was interviewed three months later and continued to deny knowing or meeting the victim.

“But when phone and forensic evidence was put to him,” said Mrs McKay, “he admitted that he had met the complainant and sexual activity had taken place.”

Passing the two year sentence, Judge Smyth said the victim was a “vulnerable young girl” and the offences had had a “considerable impact on her”.

McGarrell was placed on the sex offenders register for ten years and was disqualified from working with children.