Northern Ireland

Teacher travelled from England to meet ‘incredibly vulnerable’ child five times

Andrew Harrison (43) of Staining Road, Blackpool is charged with possessing an indecent image of a child

The Government’s target of cutting the crown court backlog is ‘no longer achievable’, Whitehall’s spending watchdog has found
The accused was remanded into custody (Nick Ansell/PA)

A supply teacher who has travelled from England five times since February to meet with an “incredibly vulnerable child who he completely manipulated” has been remanded in custody.

Andrew Harrison (43) of Staining Road, Blackpool is charged with possessing an indecent image of a child, giving alcohol to a minor and assaulting a woman.

Enniskillen Magistrates Court heard that on June 8, police received a report from the girl’s parents stating she had been kidnapped by Harrison.

The family had met him while staying at holiday park in Blackpool last year where he worked as a barman.

The parents informed police they become aware their daughter was going outside to meet Harrison, who was parked in the street.

A verbal argument ensued resulting in him pushing the girl’s mother in the chest.

The child was crying and Harrison told her to get into his car, which she did and he drove off.

Police spoke with her by phone around 3am and Harrison drove her back to meet them.

The parents confirmed being served by Harrison at the holiday park, noting he paid particular attention to the girl.

After returning home she: “Exclaimed that she’d found him on Facebook. This concerned her parents who on looking through her phone discovered a completely naked image of Harrison.”

The parents removed her phone for three months but unknown to them she remained in contact with him through social media and it transpired he had posted phones to her under different names to avoid being found out.

He has travelled to Tyrone on five occasions since February 2024 with the sole purpose of meeting the girl, providing her with vapes and alcohol, and at least once kissing her intimately.

Shortly before the alleged kidnapping the parents observed alcohol in the house and confronted the girl, who denied Harrison was back in Northern Ireland.

He was however, “parked in the usual spot”.

The detective said: “The family has gone to great lengths to protect this child. They removed her phone, installed cameras outside the house and an alarm. They are extremely concerned about her vulnerability as she seems completely enamoured of this man.”

A defence solicitor stressed there is no charge of kidnapping and the girl sought Harrison on Facebook of her own accord.

He said the defendant’s parents address in Scotland is available and his sister, who is also a teacher, is willing to provide a cash surety.

However District Judge Alana McSorley refused bail.

Harrison will appear again by video-link at Omagh Magistrates Court on July 2.