Derry man pleads guilty to sexual communication with child and possession of images

A Derry man has pleaded guilty to sexual communication with a child, and possessing indecent and prohibited images of children.

A Derry man has pleased guilty to child sex offences.
A Derry man has pleased guilty to child sex offences.

Police welcomed the guilty plea by 53-year-old Peter Anthony McGowan at Coleraine Crown Court on Thursday, September 22, 2022.

He pleaded guilty to a total of ten charges including, sexual communication with a child, and possessing indecent and prohibited images of children.

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After the guilty plea was entered detectives revealed how McGowan's 'digital footprint' alerted police to his offending.

Detective Inspector Richard Vasey from the PSNI’s Child Internet Protection Team said: “McGowan’s online behaviour triggered intelligence systems providing a referral to Police, which led to us conducting a search of his property.

“The search resulted in a number of electronic devices being seized for forensic examination, McGowan being arrested and later charged for child abuse offences.

“Our message is clear, if a person is downloading, viewing or making indecent images of children, you are leaving a digital footprint and we are actively looking for you. We will continue to do everything in our power to keep children safe."

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DI Vasey said the PSNI is determined to target offenders in order to protect vulnerable young people.

“We have specialist officers within the Child Internet Protection Team who are dedicated to investigating these crimes, bringing those responsible before the courts and ultimately protecting further vulnerable young people from unimaginable suffering.

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"We will continue proactively targeting those people in our community who contribute to this cycle of abuse and I would encourage anyone with concerns or information to get in contact us on 101 or 999 in an emergency. We will act on the information we receive.”