Convicted sex offender jailed for eight months

A CONVICTED sex offender exposed by the MAIL for attempting to run a fake charity night in aid of a kids charity has been jailed for eight months for breaching the terms of a sex order.

Stuart Townsend, whose address was given on court papers as Parkmore Road, Magherafelt, pleaded guilty to seven separate breaches of the order between November 11, last year and January 17.

Under the terms of the SOPO, the 20-year-old was banned from possessing or using a mobile phone. It was imposed in November 2010 after he was convicted of sending sexually explicit text messages to teenage boys.

However, between November and January Townsend admitted sending text messages to fellow students at Derry’s North West Regional College, where he was studying hospitality.

He also admitted harassing one male student by sending him up to 400 text messages.

Passing sentence District Judge Barney McElholm said Townsend had been given opportunities by the court in the past to adhere to the SOPO.

However, the judge said the 20-year-old continues to re-offend with similar behaviour.

He added the defendant has now “reached the end of the line”.

Mr McElholm sentenced Townsend to four months imprisonment and also activated a four month suspended jail term to run consecutively.

He also imposed a restraining order banning the 20-year-old from contacting the student he harassed for five years.

In May the Mid-Ulster Mail exposed Townsend’s attempts to run a ‘Take Me Out’ charity night in Derry city centre claiming to be in aid of the NSPCC.

The 20 year-old, who is originally from Cookstown, had set up two social networking sites, sold tickets, and printed posters to promote the night.

But a Mid-Ulster Mail investigation revealed the event was a farce after the charity, Derry City Council and the police say they were not aware that it was even taking place.

The Magherafelt man had recruited scores of young men and women to take part, and had even booked a former X-Factor star to perform at the Strand Road ‘fundraiser’.

Scores of the popstar Bradley Johnson’s fans were also promised a “meet and greet” at Derry city’s Guildhall, closed for refurbishment at the time. The popstar pulled out of the event after the MAIL made him aware of the sex offender’s activities.

The NSPCC and Derry City Council distanced themselves from the May Bank Holiday event and the police said they were “unaware” of Townsend’s plans.