Belfast Telegraph

NI student implicated in biggest UK internet child abuse investigation faces 386 new charges

Alexander McCartney (21), of Lissummon Road, is charged with possession, making and disturbing indecent images of children, sexual activity with a child and intimidation to commit an act of sexual activity with a child from May 2018 to July 2019.
Alexander McCartney (21), of Lissummon Road, is charged with possession, making and disturbing indecent images of children, sexual activity with a child and intimidation to commit an act of sexual activity with a child from May 2018 to July 2019.

By Donal McMahon

A Newry computer science student charged in the UK’s “biggest ever investigation” involving a "catfish" paedophile global network has been charged with almost 400 new sex offences.

Alexander McCartney (21) of Lissummon Road appeared at Newry magistrates on Friday to face a litany of sexual charges involving children on dates from January 22, 2017 to July 30, 2019.

The defendant faces 386 such charges including inciting a child into sexual activity including penetration, making, distribution and possession of indecent photographs of a child, blackmail and encouraging sexual activity with an animal.

The Ulster University student has previously been charged with possession, making and disturbing indecent images of children, sexual activity with a child and intimidation to commit an act of sexual activity with a child from January 2018 to July 2019.

The new charges come after an Article 47 was granted on Wednesday by the PSNI to question McCartney on new allegations.

No bail application was made during the short court hearing.

Defence asked for a "short version of the charges to be read out" with district judge Eamonn King responding "there’d need to be".

The "catfish" case, which is already "the biggest investigation of its kind in the UK" is said to about to become even bigger with the latest forensic developments.

A detective inspector made an Article 47 application to take the accused for a maximum three days for questioning.

The court heard that the new allegations involved the same paedophile investigation, which the defendant was currently being held.

Mr King granted remanded the defendant back into custody and adjourned the case to January 15.

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