Northern Ireland

William McWatters, 64, jailed for breaking sex order

Laganside

A man who broke a sex offence order by contacting an 11-year-old girl has been sent to jail for six months.

At the Crown Court, William McWatters, 64, from Eglantine Avenue, Belfast, admitting breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).

Upon release, he will spend six further months on supervised licence.

A judge said what he did was a "clear flouting" of the SOPO order, imposed for a separate offence.

A prosecuting lawyer said that on 3 April 2012, McWatters' home was searched by police officers.

They found an internet router and two mobile phones in the premises, one of which contained an indecent image of a child. A DVD contained two images of extreme pornography.

McWatters admitted possessing the indecent image of a child, two counts of possessing an extreme pornographic image and breaching the terms of his SOPO.

The lawyer said McWatters had contacted a woman of his own age via the internet. She lived in England.

He then "befriended" her 11-year-old grand daughter and texted her, as well as sending money over to her on her birthday.

In one text, he told her: "I wish I was 50 years younger", while in other messages he referred to her as "sexy". He also used "x" and "o" symbols for kisses and hugs.

McWatters has a criminal record for sex offences, which he did disclose to the girl's grandmother but which he blamed on a "bitter ex".

A defence barrister said that while his client admitted all the offences, there had been no direct contact with the child.

He said McWatters has not come to police attention in nearly three years since the search and arrest. The barrister said his client "accepts now that he shouldn't have been sending texts" to the child.

The judge ordered that McWatters serve another SOPO, to apply for ten years.