Man accused of breaching Sexual Offences Prevention Order claimed he contacted ten-year-old schoolboys via Instagram about gaming before his ‘weaknesses’ surfaced

FacebookTwitterEmailWhatsApp  A man allegedly used Instagram for sexually explicit contact with two 10-year-old boys in England, the High Court has heard. Michael McCollum, 20, is accused of using the social networking service to send messages and videos. Prosecutors said he claimed his intention was to chat about gaming before his “weaknesses” surfaced. McCollum, of Curragh […]

 

A man allegedly used Instagram for sexually explicit contact with two 10-year-old boys in England, the High Court has heard.

Michael McCollum, 20, is accused of using the social networking service to send messages and videos.

Prosecutors said he claimed his intention was to chat about gaming before his “weaknesses” surfaced.

McCollum, of Curragh Hill, Carnlough, faces two charges of breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).

Lancashire Constabulary contacted police in Ballymena earlier this month about alleged contact with the schoolboys during January and February this year.

The court was told the children had received a series of sexually graphic cartoon-style pictures and messages via Instagram.

During an application for bail a Crown lawyer contended that the man involved performed a sex act during a video chat with one of the boys.

“This male also actively encouraged both boys to carry out sexual acts on themselves so that he could watch,” she added.

Inquiries carried out by Lancashire police and Instagram revealed an account with the name ‘Almost there 2019’, according to the prosecution.

Further checks on an IP address for the account were said to have established contact with the boys was made from McCollum’s home.

Police searched that location and seized 19 electronic devices, the court heard.

McCollum was arrested and interviewed, initially making no comment to questions asked.

However, the prosecutor said he then told police he went onto Instragram and similar sites because he had no friends or support at home.

“He further advised that he has befriended the two boys who he believed were 12 years old or younger,” she continued.

“He said his intention as to talk to them about gaming, but he said that soon his weaknesses would show and he would then send sexually explicit messages and request video chats where masturbation may take place.

“He described these incidents as episodes and appeared remorseful for his actions.”

Under the terms of the SOPO McCollum is prohibited from any unsupervised contact with young persons under the age of 16.

He is also being investigated over suspected sexual communication with a child and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Defence barrister Mark Farrell stressed McCollum is not being prosecuted for those offences.

“At this stage there must be insufficient evidence to charge the applicant with anything other than the two offences presently before the court,” he argued.

Mr Farrell confirmed his client made full admissions to the alleged breaches, “expressing regret and remorse for his behaviour”.

But amid uncertainty over where McCollum would be living, Mr Justice Maguire adjourned the bail application.

The judge stressed the need for controls and developed proposals on any accommodation put forward, the Belfast Telegraph reported.