Sex offender arranging charity night admits breaching SOPO

Stuart Townsend
Stuart Townsend

A convicted sex offender who has been attempting to organise a fundraising night in aid of a children’s charity this weekend has pleaded guilty to breaching a sexual offences prevention order.

Stuart Townsend, of Parkmore Road, Magherafelt, pleaded guilty to seven separate breaches of the order between November 11, last year and January 17, this year.

Six other charges of breaching the order were withdrawn by the prosecution at a hearing in Derry Magistrates Court yesterday.

A previous court hearing was told Townsend breached the terms of the order by sending text messages to fellow students in Derry’s North West Regional College, where he was studying hospitality.

One student claims to have received up to 400 messages from Townsend who is banned from using or possessing a mobile phone.

The 20-year-old, who was jailed in November 2010 for sending sexually explicit text messages to teenage boys, has been attempting to organise a charity night which he claimed was in aid of the NSPCC this weekend.

He has set up two social networking sites, sold tickets, and printed posters to promote the night, however the ‘Journal’ has learned the event is a farce.

Although banned from using a mobile, Townsend, who runs the ‘Derry’s Take Me Out’ Twitter page under his own name, has talked openly about using a mobile and mobile phone messaging app Blackberry Messenger on the social networking page, even publicly ‘tweeting’ his alleged mobile number to one celebrity.

He has set up a Facebook page for the event with snaps of some of the event’s contestants including a number of young women and men, some who are still in their teens.

Townsend also claimed X-Factor star Bradley Johnson would be performing at the event.

The NSPCC have said the charity was in no way connected to the event but had received an email earlier this week which queried whether it was possible to hold an event in Derry city that weekend.

Other charities in the city have confirmed they had also been approached by Townsend.

A spokesperson for Derry City Council confirmed that a request to host an event in Guildhall Square was received over the May Bank Holiday weekend and the Council is currently in the process of replying to advise the organizer that permission to host events in the Guildhall Square must be processed by the DRD.

A PSNI spokesperson also said they had no knowledge of Townsend’s plans and a nightclub mentioned in Townsend’s charity proposal said they had no knowledge of a booking.

In court yesterday, sentencing of the 20-year-old was adjourned for a probation pre-sentence report to be compiled.

He was released on continuing bail and will appear in court again on June 15.