Belfast Telegraph

Suspect (37) in grooming of two young girls is banned by judge from social media use

By Paul Higgins

A Co Down man has appeared in court charged with meeting a female child that he allegedly groomed.

Richard David McCrea (37) was also accused of conducting "sexual communication" with a second girl "for the purposes of obtaining sexual gratification".

Standing in the dock at Craigavon Magistrates Court yesterday, McCrea, from Barban Heights in Dromore, agreed that he understood the two charges against him and that he had no objections to the preliminary enquiry.

Although no facts forming the basis of the charges - alleged to have been committed on September 7 and 9 last year - were opened in court, a prosecution lawyer submitted the files and papers supported a prima facie case against McCrea.

His defence lawyer said he had no contrary submissions, and although McCrea was afforded the opportunity to comment on the charges or give evidence to the hearing, the accused opted to remain silent. Returning the case to Craigavon Crown Court, District Judge Bernie Kelly said that she was satisfied there was a case for him to answer and ordered McCrea to appear before the higher court on May 11 for his arraignment.

Although freed on continuing bail, McCrea was ordered not to contact any of the parties involved or any witnesses, and was banned from using any form of social media directly, or indirectly through someone else, and is not to have any contact with any person under the age of 18.

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