Paedophile who had map of Belfast schools and assaulted girl aged 10 jailed for two years ... but could walk free in days
A paedophile who had a map in his home marking the location of dozens of Belfast schools, has been jailed for two years – but could walk free in days.
Colin Shaw (48), who groomed and sexually assaulted a 10-year-old schoolgirl, has already spent the two years on remand.
A leading campaigner against sexual abuse has described the sentence as a "slap in the face" to victims of sexual abuse.
At Belfast Crown Court yesterday Shaw was also ordered to spend an extra four years on licensed parole.
Jailing him and also ordering him to sign the police sex offenders register for the next 10 years, Judge Corinne Philpott QC warned him that if he failed to comply with probation or the terms of his licence, he would be sent back to jail to serve out the remainder of his four-year licence period.
The Deputy Recorder told Shaw that in assessing the danger he poses: "It is my view that while the offences are at the lower end of the sexual scale, if they had not been nipped in the bud they would have continued to a much more serious state."
During his trial last November the jury heard how Shaw, originally from east Belfast with an address at a hostel on Victora Street in the city centre, befriended the schoolgirl, giving her cigarettes and booze.
His offending came to light on September 9, 2009 when the girl said Shaw had twice kissed her, touched her private parts over her clothing and hugged her.
When Shaw's property was searched, police uncovered a poem written about a girl with the same name as the 10-year-old girl.
Officers also found a map marking out dozens of nursery, primary and secondary schools.
Shaw, who is single and without children, claimed he had done nothing wrong. But yesterday the judge said: "You had a sexual interest in this girl and you know."
Last night, campaigner Michael Connolly called on the judicial system here to take a tougher stance on child abusers.
"When is the justice system going to sit up and take notice of the victims here?" he said.
He said he would be contacting Justice Minister David Ford over what he described as light sentences given to sex offenders.
"I want an explanation," he said. "A two-year sentence is a slap in the face for victims. It can't be seen as anything but a slap in the face."
According to the NSPCC, 32% of Northern Ireland callers to its helpline last year whose contact caused a referral to police or children's services waited more than six months to speak out. A total of 14% of referrals (50) were about sexual abuse. This is higher than the UK average, which was 10%.