East Belfast child groomer jailed

Published Wednesday, 20 March 2013
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A man, who first groomed and then sexually assaulted a ten-year-old schoolgirl, was jailed on Wednesday for two years and ordered to spend an extra four years on licensed parole.

East Belfast child groomer jailed
Colin Shaw, 48, could be freed within days due to time served. (© UTV)

However despite the sentence handed down to Colin Shaw at Belfast Crown Court, the 48-year-old could be freed within days as he has already spent the equivalent of two years on remand.

Jailing him and also ordering him to sign the police sex offenders register for the next ten years, Judge Corinne Philpott QC warned him that if he failed to comply with probation or the terms of his licence, he would be sent back to jail to serve out that four year licence period.

The Deputy Recorder told Shaw that in assessing the danger he poses: "It is my view that while the offences are at the lower end of the sexual scale, if they had not been nipped in the bud they would have continued to a much more serious state."

During his trial last November, the jury heard how Shaw, originally from east Belfast but now with an address at a hostel on Victoria Street in the city centre, befriended the girl, giving her cigarettes and often alcohol, and taking her into the city centre and to the Ozone Leisure Complex.

His offending came to light on 9 September 2009 when the girl failed to come home and when she eventually did, she told of how Shaw had twice kissed her on the cheek, touched her private parts over her clothing and hugged her before they parted company.

When Shaw's property was searched, police uncovered receipts for a mobile phone and SIM card, as well as a poem written about a girl with the same name as the victim.

Officers also found a map of east Belfast pinned up on the wall marking out the dozens of nursery, primary and secondary school in the densely populated area.

Arrested and interviewed, Shaw claimed he had done nothing wrong, asked why he could not be friends with the child and further claimed the schools on the map had been marked out for a friend and that it was "just an interest".

On Wednesday, however, Judge Philpott said that for a single man, neither married nor with children, "this court finds that a very strange interest" for which "an explanation has never been fully given."

She told Shaw that it was possible to be friends with a child but that "people who are friends with children do not take advantage of them or treat them inappropriately as you have done."

"You had a sexual interest in this girl and you know," Shaw was told by the judge, who revealed that it was only recently that he had accepted what he had done was wrong - and this was another factor which caused her concern as it showed "you are at a risk of reoffending".

Shaw's criminal record was another worrying feature, said the judge because he had been convicted of two indecent assaults 30 years ago and also of perverting justice in that he had supported his sister-in-law's account over how her husband Stephen, Shaw's brother, had been killed.

In September 2010, Pauline Shaw, 50, was jailed for a minimum of four years after she pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of her husband Stephen Shaw by reason of diminished responsibility.

After the married couple had yet another argument on 10 March 2009, she attacked her husband "in a rage" and stabbed him multiple times in the couples' Maymount Street home in east Belfast.

But she claimed he had been killed by two unknown men the night beforehand, a claim supported by Colin Shaw.

While the offences of indecent assault related to an old girlfriend, "nonetheless that is in the background," said the judge.

As well as the jail and extended licence terms, Judge Philpott also imposed an indefinite Sexual Offences Prevention Order, barring Shaw from having unsupervised contact with children, working with children, contacting his victim or her family and from visiting or loitering near child-centred facilities.

© UTV News
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