A 26-year-old Co Down man has been charged with breaching a court order after allegedly lavishing a vulnerable teenage boy with hundreds of pounds worth of gift cards and chatting to him on social media.
Michael McShane is alleged to have showered gifts worth over £300 on the 13-year-old boy from Cornwall, who suffers from ADHD and other mental health conditions, as well as engaging in prolonged online chats with him.
McShane, of Belfast Road, Dundrum appeared at Laganside Magistrates Court on Saturday charged with a breach of his Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).
A PSNI officer told the court they were notified by Devon & Cornwall Police on January 19 about a teenage boy being in contact with a man online who was sending him gift cards and money between October and December last year.
Police in England had been alerted when the boy’s step-grandmother became suspicious after finding multiple social media accounts on his mobile phone, the court was told.
When Cornish police analysed the phone they found an Amazon Pay account with multiple gift cards on it including £100 in Xbox credit, £85 in Sports Direct vouchers, £50 in Amazon gift cards and £90 in iTunes gift cards.
They also recovered details of a pair of trainers ordered via Sports Direct, multiple fast-food orders and a bus fare, the court heard.
Police said they had also found a bank card in McShane’s name linked to the Amazon Pay account and several social media accounts belonging to him which had been in contact with the young lad.
McShane allegedly used the pseudonyms ‘Irish Mick’ and ‘Mick Mac’ on the social media platform Snapchat to contact the boy and he was stored in the teen’s phone as ‘MM’, the court heard.
After being arrested by the PSNI last week McShane gave a no comment interview.
During a bail application on his behalf the court was told McShane works at his father’s accountancy business in Downpatrick using a computer which has no access to the internet and so could be released under strict conditions.
However, District Judge George Conner refused bail over concerns about his risk of offending while on bail and his ability to adhere to bail conditions.
The matter was adjourned to Downpatrick Magistrates Court with February 17.