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Belfast man accused of exposing himself to child on social media

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Stephen Braund was arrested following an investigation into suspected social media contact over a year-long period.

Stephen Braund was arrested following an investigation into suspected social media contact over a year-long period.

Stephen Braund was arrested following an investigation into suspected social media contact over a year-long period.

A Belfast man allegedly used Instagram for sexual communication with two nine-year-old girls, a court heard today.

Stephen Braund, 51, is accused of exposing himself to one of them and threatening to go to the other child's home if she refused to send him a naked photo.

He was arrested following an investigation into suspected social media contact over a year-long period.

Braund, of Rosemount Gardens, appeared at Belfast Magistrates' Court charged with two counts of sexual communication with a child.

He also faces a further count of causing a child under 13 to watch a sexual act. All charges are denied.

The alleged offences were committed on dates between February 2019 and June 2020.

Police were informed that one of the girls had been contacted and engaged in video chat with a man on Instagram, the court heard.

"She reported that this male asked her age, she told him she was nine and he exposed what she referred to as his private parts," a detective said.

According to police the contact continued for a year, but the exposure occurred only once.

In a separate alleged incident another nine-year-old girl was messaged on Instagram in April this year.

A man asked her name and where she lived, but she replied "No".

The detective added: "A few days later she received another message (saying) 'Send me a picture of your ***** or I will come to your home'."

Police were alerted after the child informed her parents.

Braund is allegedly connected based on telecommunication inquiries into his IP (Internet Protocol) address, District Judge Mark Hamill was told.

Opposing bail, the detective claimed: "He repeatedly asked the children where they live, if they were local, and (used) the threat aspect of 'I will come to your house'."

Defence solicitor Paul Dougan acknowledged the seriousness of the charges, but stressed Braund is entitled to a presumption of innocence.

"These allegations are denied by him," Mr Dougan said.

"There's no suggestion that the addresses of these child complainants has been disclosed, the defendant has denied any knowledge of them."

Refusing bail, however, Judge Hamill described the application as "hopeless".

He said: "Taking the Crown case at its height, this man on the face of it is a danger to children."

Braund was remanded in custody to appear again in four weeks time.

Belfast Telegraph