Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

‘Predatory’ offender had sex with 13-year-old girl

A pervert described in court as a “predator” has been ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register after he pleaded guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

Standing in the dock of Belfast Crown Court in a dark suit, 31-year-old Gareth Freeman pleaded guilty to meeting a child after sexual grooming, six counts of sexual activity with a child, a further six of possessing indecent images of a child and two of taking an indecent image of a child.

The charges, which are all dated between October 30 and November 1 last year, arise after Freeman began chatting to the 13-year-old Belfast girl on the mobile network Qeep.

Freeman, from Regent Street in Mirfield, west Yorkshire, flew to Belfast and had sex with the girl in the Park Avenue Hotel in east Belfast.

During a previous bail application, the court heard that Freeman recorded himself abusing the schoolgirl and that within days of beginning to chat with her, he had talked her into sending him explicit pictures of herself performing sex acts.

A Crown lawyer had told the court that in October alone, phone records showed he sent her 3,793 text messages and 76 media messages, with Freeman being described as “very much a predatory male offender, this is not an opportunist”.

Following the guilty pleas yesterday, the recorder of Belfast, Judge Tom Burgess, ordered Freeman to sign the sex offenders’ register, telling him the length of time he would remain on it would depend on the final sentence passed.

He adjourned sentencing until probation reports and victim impact reports have been compiled.

Freeman was remanded back into custody.

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