Republic of Ireland news

Former Irish Times journalist Tom Humphries asks to be remanded in custody ahead of child sex abuse sentencing

Deborah McAleese, Press Association

Former Irish Times sports journalist Tom Humphries has asked to be remanded in custody to await sentence for grooming and engaging in sexual acts with a child.

The 54-year-old sat with his hands over his face during a sentencing hearing at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The court heard that Humphries exchanged thousands of text messages with the young girl as part of a grooming process. The girl was 14 when he first contacted her in December 2008.

The court heard many of the messages were sexually explicit and contained graphic images.

A snapshot of analysed messages showed that more than 16,000 texts were exchanged over a three-month period.

When the girl was 16, Humphries took her to his Dublin apartment where they engaged in sexual activity.

Gardai became involved when the text messages were found on Humphries' phone by his daughter in March 2011, the prosecution said.

She told her mother, his estranged wife, who confronted him and then contacted police.

Humphries, 54, from Sutton, north Dublin, previously pleaded guilty to six counts of abuse of a girl under the age of 17.

The charges comprise of two counts of defilement of a child in Dublin between December 5 2010 and February 19 2011, and four counts of inviting a child to participate in a sexually explicit, obscene or indecent act between January 2010 and March 2011.

Prosecutor Shane Costelloe said Humphries' victim had been left "suicidal " as well as "physically, emotionally and mentally ill."

Reading from a victim impact report, he said the victim has "permanent flashbacks and panic attacks" and "for years it ruined (her) life."

Defence lawyer Hugh Hartnett said Humphries is suicidal and "seriously depressed."

He added: "He doesn't want treatment because he feels he should be punished."

Mr Harnett added that Humphries was "deeply remorseful".

Judge Karen O'Connor adjourned sentencing to October 24 for the opportunity to consider prosecution and defence arguments.

Humphries was free to leave on bail, but in a surprise request through his legal team he asked to be remanded in custody immediately and the request was granted.

His lawyer said that due to Humphries' mental state he was concerned by the request but he was acting on his instructions.

Judge O'Connor ordered that Humphries receives whatever treatment necessary while on remand.

 

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