A former PSNI officer was jailed for a year on Thursday for a series of sex offenses involving underage girls while on duty at Belfast police headquarters.

Christopher Little (39) of Cove Avenue in Groomsport, Co Down, pleaded guilty to four counts of attempted sexual contact with a child and three counts of attempting to arrange or facilitate the commission of a sexual act.

He also admitted some allegations of attempting to incite or incite a child to engage in sexual activity and possession of an indecent photograph of a child.

The offenses were committed between 6 May 2020 and 3 February 2022.

Natalie Pinkerton, prosecuting, told Belfast Crown Court that the PSNI was contacted by the North West of England’s Regional Organized Crime Unit in the summer of 2021.

Undercover officers posing as children aged 12 to 14 are said to have been transacting online with a person in Northern Ireland and the conversations were of a sexual nature.

Speaking to a girl called “Izzy”, Little told her he was 27, from Manchester, and “always had young girlfriends.”

He tells her he likes her a lot, asks her for a picture and says he’ll send her one.

“A live photo is sent and he tells her she looks ‘hot’. by PSNI.”

Little also spoke to “Izzy” about a “meeting” and said he lived 30 minutes away from her.

He also contacted 13-year-old “Millie” and asked for a photo. “Millie” says, “You first.” The suspect replies: “Oh, please first. I am older. I have more to lose please (sic)”.

On 6 September 2021, Little’s home was searched and a number of items, including his mobile phone, were confiscated. He was arrested but refused to answer police questions.

Ms Pinkerton said: “The PSNI was informed by the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI) that Mr Little was currently being investigated and in May 2020 a mobile device was confiscated as part of their investigation. It was sent to the research team for investigation. .

“Therefore, during his interrogation by PONI between August 2020 and July 2021, the accused continued to send messages that he believed were about young and vulnerable girls.

“Interrogation and questioning about his behavior did not deter or prevent the offence.”

The court heard that the PSNI questioned Little again on January 10, 2022 and he was charged with a series of offenses and released on bail.

Ms Pinkerton said Little texted 13-year-old “Zoe” on February 1, 2022, but refused to send him a photo.

A large number of non-offensive images of young girls were found on his mobile phone along with his browsing history.

Prosecutors suggest it shows the deep-seated sexual interest he has in young girls.

“He was a police officer on duty at the time of this sexual communication and was involved in taking photographs of himself while at police headquarters.”

Defense barrister Sean Mullan said Little had suffered a “spectacular fall from grace”, lost his PSNI job, his wife had left him and taken their four children to England.

“There is no question that Mr. Little was thinking inappropriately and distortedly, and that distorted view is evident in all of these posts.”

Judge Mark Reel jailed Little for 12 months and told him he would be supervised for another two years after his release.

The judge added: “To make matters worse, you were an active member of the PSNI and held that position on duty.

“This crime represents a serious attack on the public’s confidence in the police. The fact that these crimes were committed while they were already being investigated by the (police) Ombudsman only exacerbates the extent to which this crime undermines the public’s confidence in the police , undermined.

“It also shows that the defendant is ignoring his position.

Little became the subject of a ten-year preventive sex offense order and was placed on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.

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