15 Aug 2022

Man who groomed girls as young as six on webcam for his own personal sexual gratification is spared jail by a judge at Derry court due to a delay in his case being dealt with

A university graduate who groomed young girls, some of them aged six, on the internet for his own personal sexual gratification, was spared jail today because a judge said the five year delay in prosecuting the defendant was completely unacceptable. Austin Quigg, 28, from Curragh Road in Dungiven, admitted coercing his victims during webcam chats, which he recorded, into undressing and into at times performing sexual acts on themselves. He also attempted to blackmail one of his victims, who was aged fifteen, to perform a sex act for him otherwise he would send indecent images of her to her boyfriend. The girl refused and Quigg then sent the images to her boyfriend. Quigg pleaded guilty to fourteen charges of making indecent images of young girls and guilty to six charges of causing or inciting young girls to engage in sexual activity. He committed the twenty offences between December 2006 and March 2012. At the Bishop Street Crown Court today Judge Philip Babington imposed a two year jail sentence, suspended for two years. He also told Quigg that he would be subject to the notification of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for a period of ten years. Judge Babington said normally such offending would attract a two to three year immediate custodial sentence but he said there was "a very concerning aspect to his case - delay". He said the offending was reported to police in Staffordshire, where Quigg then lived, in November 2011. In March 2012 the police searched his home at Dungiven. They found a computer which contained ninety-one video files of indecent images of children and on a second computer which was given to the police by Quigg's mother officers found another 609 still indecent photographs. Quigg admitted searching the internet for girls aged between thirteen and sixteen. He then established webcam links with them while assuming the identities of well known singers or celebrities who appealed to young girls. He also put two images of himself on the web while exposing his privates. Quigg was arrested in October 2013 and made a number of immediate admissions. Judge Babington said although the offending was reported to the police in 2011, Quigg was only arraigned on the charges, which he admitted, in July of this year. He told Quigg that the offending was very serious, disturbing and concerning which was for his own gratification but because of the lapse of time and delay he was not sending him to jail. A pre-sentence report provided by a probation officer in England said Quigg groomed the young girls to perform sexual acts which he recorded, in a premeditated and pre-planned way.

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