Sex offender with Ballymena address was found using Snapchat in Portglenone area

Sex offender with Ballymena address was found using Snapchat in Portglenone area

A SEX offender with a Ballymena address has been ordered to do 100 hours of Community Service after pleading guilty to breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order by using the Snapchat app which, the charge says, 'deletes messages and interactions'.

Kristoffer Noel John Coulter (35), with an address listed as Linenhall Street, committed the offence on July 20, 2021.

The defendant was at Ballymena Magistrates Court where a prosecutor said on July 20 last year police stopped an Alfa Romeo car at a checkpoint at Clady Road, Portglenone.

The defendant was driving and "at that stage was also known as Marcus Carter".

The defendant was the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) and as part of that he was not to have any device capable of Internet access

Whilst police were speaking to him they noticed the defendant had the Snapchat app running and he was "texting a person ...on Snapchat and there were a series of messages back and forth between the parties."

The prosecutor said Snapchat deletes messages and photos automatically.

The court was told the defendant was aware of the SOPO and he admitted using Snapchat and he was arrested.

A defence lawyer said the person was "someone he was randomly chatting with. Had just met through the App itself, I think there is the facility for that on the Snapchat application."

The lawyer said the defendant "co-operated fully with police"; was "very remorseful" and regrets not complying with the terms of the SOPO.

He said the defendant had spent time in jail for the matter the SOPO was associated with and had "complied fully" with Probation since his release.

The lawyer said Probation assessed the defendant as suitable for Community Service.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said: "These Orders are important and they are there for a purpose and that is to prevent reoffending. If you breach this Order again you are very likely to receive an immediate custodial sentence".

He said the Community Service was as a "direct alternative to imprisonment".

A press report from 2015 told how the defendant, then with an address in Ballyclare, was “obsessed” with his collection of 7,000 indecent images of children and he received a 21 month sentence.

He had admitted a total of 21 charges including making indecent images of children and possessing prohibited images of children.

Despite not being part of the prosecution case against him, Coulter was told by a Crown Court judge that he found it “disturbing” that scores of images of children in their school uniforms which were downloaded from Facebook were also found on Coulter’s computer.

At the 2015 hearing it emerged that Coulter – a former employee of the Belfast health trust – had stored over 7,000 indecent pictures and films of children in a “sophisticated” manner in his computer.

Over 100 of the downloaded images were of the most serious category, whilst one of the videos featured a baby.

The Crown Court judge spoke of the “physical harm and total degradation of young children” depicted in the images and films, which he said “cannot be tolerated in society.”

A defence lawyer had told the Crown Court that Coulter accepted he had an “unhealthy sexual interest in pornography of this type”.

The Crown Court judge said Coulter “almost became addicted to this type of material” and that the defendant was “obsessed by his collection.”

As well as being given a jail sentence in 2015, Coulter was also made the subject of a seven-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

The Crown Court judge had also recommended that Coulter received “some form of treatment that will assist him with sexual offending in the future.”