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Isobel Murphy Jailed for Sexually Abusing Teenage Boy

A woman who sexually abused a 13-year-old boy in her then east Belfast home has been sent to prison.

Isobel Murphy, 46, was handed a 27-month sentence which will be divided equally between prison and licence.

She pleaded guilty to a total of six charges she committed in 2021.

Murphy admitted two counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, two counts of sexual activity with a child and two counts of sexual communication with a child.

All of the offences occurred in May and June, 2021, in Murphy’s former home in east Belfast.

She now has an address at Central Avenue in Bangor, County Down.

A Crown prosecutor said that at the time of the offending, Murphy was 44 and her young victim was 13.

On 16 June, 2021 the teenage boy spoke to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and told officers that the month before, Murphy had engaged in sexual activity with him – both physically in person and via sexual explicit text messages.

He said the abuse began at the start of May 2021, when Murphy told him she was sexually aroused by him and gave him a mobile phone which she topped up with credit.

The teenager told police that Murphy made sure he had the Snapchat app on the phone and told him to keep it concealed.

The lawyer said that during the relevant period, Murphy engaged in “sexually explicit conversations as well as physical activity” with the teenager when he was in her home.

The lawyer also spoke of sexual communication between Murphy and the boy and revealed that when their phones were examined by police, messages and other evidence were recovered.

He said that between 29 May and 1 June, 2021, there were 350 Snapchat messages exchanged, while there was also a video she sent him of her performing a sex act.

He revealed Murphy’s offending emerged when the boy’s mother found the phone given to him by Murphy.

She took the phone, read some of the Snapchat messages and the police were alerted.

When she was arrested, Murphy was taken to Musgrave Street police station.

There, she admitted giving the child a phone and admitted they messaged each other, but denied sending sexually explicit messages and a video of herself.

She also denied any sexual activity between them.

A defence barrister expressed on Murphy’s behalf her “abject remorse” for the “utter madness on her part”.

He spoke of the consequences of her offending which has included having to move away from her former home.

‘Grooming and manipulation’

He added his client was “of limited intellect”, has suffered stress as a result of the court proceedings and was remorseful for her actions.

Passing sentence, the judge spoke of the impact that Murphy’s behaviour has had on the teenage boy including psychological harm.

“The victim was clearly vulnerable by reason of his age and there was a sustained course of contact carried out on your behalf,” he said.

“This amounted to grooming and manipulative behaviour.”

As well as jailing Murphy, the judge amade her the subject of a 10-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order and placed her on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.

Speaking after sentence was passed, the victim’s aunt said “the sentence wasn’t long enough”.

“We heard in court about the stress she has suffered, but what about the child she abused?

“He’s coming 16 now. He’s had to move schools and his mental health is not good.”

Source : BBC