Convicted sex offender from County Down harassed Probation Officer by sending 100 'grossly offensive sexualised' messages

Convicted sex offender from County Down harassed Probation Officer by sending 100 'grossly offensive sexualised' messages

A CONVICTED sex offender from the Comber area who was previously given Probation has now pleaded guilty to harassing a Probation Officer by sending her 100 "grossly offensive" messages over a two month period.

Newtownards Magistrates Court, on Wednesday, heard that in one message Aaron Patterson (24), of Quarry Road, said: 'I think I will incite sex with some more children'.

The court heard the harassment of the Probation Officer took place between December last year and February 15 this year.

A prosecution lawyer said the defendant was previously sentenced to Probation in relation to a "sexual offence" and his Probation Officer reported to police she had received text messages of an "indecent nature" from Patterson.

The Probation Officer had told the defendant to stop sending her the messages but they continued.

District Judge Mark Hamill said last August the defendant was dealt with at a Crown Court for being an adult 'causing or inciting a child between the age of 13 and 16 to engage in sexual activity'.

At the Crown Court, Patterson had also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders' Register for five years.

Also at the Crown Court he had been given 75 hours of Community Service and put on Probation for two years with a condition that he attended the Probation Board's Intensive Supervision Unit or another venue to actively participate in a programme designed to address 'sexually abusive behaviour'.

A prosecutor has now told Newtownards Magistrates Court Patterson then had sent "abusive, grossly offensive, sexualised, indecent messages" to his Probation Officer.

A defence lawyer confirmed the messages were "grossly offensive" and 57 pages of evidence had been prepared for the Magistrates Court.

The defence lawyer said the original Crown Court Probation Order has been breached and that matter has been returned to the Crown Court for the end of April.

He added: "However, in the interim period he has been permitted to re-engage with a different Probation Officer".

Judge Hamill said one message from Patterson to the Probation Officer had read: 'I hope you don't mind me sharing this information, it is quite private.'

He continued to reveal the contents of Patterson's message in which the defendant had said: 'I just felt it might be appropriate to tell you since you are my Probation Officer since I am on the Sex Offenders' Register for inciting sex with a child. I think I will incite sex with some more children'.

Patterson's message then contained an offensive reference.

The judge said the message to the Probation Officer had continued: 'That's what I am going to be trying to do, just keeping you in the loop. I hope you don't mind me sharing these details with you, I think it is important'.

The court heard Patterson had sent around 100 messages to the Probation Officer.

The judge said: "Within four months of getting the Probation he abuses the Probation Officer. He refers to his intention to continue with his proclivities".

The defence lawyer said Patterson had also made "very inappropriate enquiries into the personal life of the Probation Officer and that is the politest way I think can put it".

He said he believed the Probation Board were seeking to revoke the original Probation Order "however until such an application is made before the Crown Court they are content for him to re-engage".

The defence lawyer said he has sought a psychiatric report on Patterson and there was "evidence of a mental health background and physical lesions on his brain".

The defence lawyer asked for sentencing in the harassment case to be adjourned for a Probation report.

Judge Hamill said it was with "some hesitation" he was putting it back for a Probation report "because I do have to expose now another Probation Officer to the potential abuse from this man".

The case was adjourned to mid-May.

The judge said on the next occasion he wanted a summary of the "bile" directed by Patterson to the Probation Officer and would also like to see a Victim Impact Report from the Probation Officer if she wished to make one.

The defence lawyer said the defendant is on "very strict bail conditions".

The defendant's bail conditions include a 9pm-7am curfew; no access to a mobile phone or electronic device with access to the internet; reports twice a week to police; shall not consume alcohol at any time or in any place; must contact his GP 'to arrange a course of treatment that will assist him in dealing with his addictions and mental health issues'.