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Northern Ireland news

Teen duped schoolboys into sending indecent pictures of themselves

Owen Mounsey pictured during a previous appearance at Belfast Crown Court

A Co Down teenager who duped schoolboys into sending him indecent pictures of themselves will find out his sentence on Friday.

Judge Geoffrey Miller told 18-year-old Owen Mounsey that he had hoped to pass sentence today but "required a little time to reflect" on his case.

The judge heard that the Holywood teen, who will be 19 next month, shared some of the pictures online with a Dutchman who had tutored him in how to get others to pose for him.

Mounsey admitted a total of 48 charges between 2014 and 2016, when he was arrested at his Station Road home following a joint investigation by the National Crime Agency and PSNI.

Prosecution lawyer Simon Jenkins said when officers arrived, he handed over his iPhone, laptop computer and two USB sticks.

The teenager initially made a 'no comment' interview but later asked to speak to detectives again, telling them he first saw such images in chat rooms when he was 16 before trolling the 'dark web' himself for other images.

Mr Jenkins said Mounsey had tricked boys, aged 11 to 12, to send him images of themselves in various states of undress with promises of video game credits - and continued to do so even when on police bail.

The teen also accepted that while he downloaded hundreds of images of child sex abuse, he also "inadvertently" downloaded what Judge Miller described as "insidious and evil" manuals on how to "ingratiate" yourself with youngsters and sexually abuse them.

Of the 954 images recovered from various devices, including 54 videos, almost a third were in the most serious Category A - one of which showed a boy aged four or five being abused.

The lawyer said aggravating features of the case were Mounsey's targeting of other youngsters, distributing some of the material he was given, and continuing to view images even whilst on bail.

Defence counsel Barry Gibson said while he fell to be dealt with as an adult, the offences took place when he was aged 14 to 17 and at a time he was confused about his gender.

Mr Gibson said the teenager made no threats to others and immediately accepted his guilt, telling officers who came to his home "it's me you are looking for".

He added that a number of reports, both psychiatric and probation, indicated that "this has been a difficult journey for him but he has come out a better person for it".

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