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Issue:- 27 March 2015

75 year old McCullough sentenced after pleading guilty to Child Sex offences

MERSEYSIDE Police have confirmed that a 75 year old man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison plus a further extended licence period of 4 years at Liverpool Crown Court, on Monday, 23 March 2015, after pleading guilty to grooming and abusing a young girl in the St Helens area.

Maurice McCullough, from Wythenshawe in Greater Manchester, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to 1 count of causing or inciting a child under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity:- 8 counts of sexual activity with a child; 1 count of attempting to engage in sexual activity with a child and 1 count of meeting a child following sexual grooming.

All the offences occurred between October 2013 and the end of November 2014.

He has also been ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life and has been made the subject of a lifetime Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

McCullough posed as a 16 year old boy and befriended his victim on a social media site when she was just 12 years old. He spent months grooming her and then went on to meet her at various hotels and secluded locations across St Helens where he took advantage of her trusting nature and sexually abused her.

Area Commander for St Helens, Chief Superintendent Julie Cooke, said:- "This was an horrendous case which has left an entire family traumatised and in shock. Maurice McCullough is a sexual predator who went to extraordinary lengths to groom his victim, posing as a teenage boy online and communicating with her for weeks in order to gain her trust. He then went on to abuse her over a period of months. It is truly every parent's worst nightmare."

In her witness statement, the victim's Mum has spoken candidly of the lasting impact that McCullough's actions have had. She said:- "The visit from the Police to tell us our daughter had been groomed and abused was like a bullet, it shattered our lives. This kind of things happens to other families, not ours. My daughter had not shown any outward signs of being upset or distressed, so the news was completely unexpected. That evening our emotions went from shock to anger and then to absolute devastation. Why did this happen? What did we miss? Are we to blame? I had to accompany my daughter to hospital for examination, not an experience that anyone should ever have to go through, never mind a 13 year old. I heard things that will never be erased from my memory. 'He' had taken away her innocence, her childhood, gone forever. I wake up with a pain in my heart and it stays there until I go to sleep. To the outside world everything is normal, but beneath the facade, we're a family in pieces, trying to keep it together."

Chief Superintendent Cooke added:- "This case highlights how children can be exploited on social media sites without realising anything is wrong until it is too late. It also shows how important it is to know what your children are doing online and to encourage them to speak to you about the friendships they are making. Child Sexual Exploitation ('CSE') is a terrible crime which can affect any family, anywhere. We are, however, determined to play our part in tackling the problem. Only last week, as part of National CSE Awareness Day, we helped to launch, Listen To My Story, a campaign and website which is there to raise awareness of CSE among young people, parents, grandparents, in fact every single 1 of us. It will help victims to find the right kind of support and advice if they have suffered abuse in the past. It also has loads of information for young people to help them if they think they are being exploited, or if they are worried one of their friends may be. Everyone of us has to play our part in putting a stop to the sexual exploitation of children and we all need to know the signs to look for, including if they are regularly missing school, appearing with unexplained gifts, having mood swings or becoming secretive about their use of social media. If you are a child, you may think it's cool to get involved with older people but they may ask you to perform sexual acts or take photos of yourself in return and you may be pressured to keep these things secret. If we all look out for these signs and report any suspicions, we can break the cycle."

Merseyside's Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Cllr Ann O'Byrne said:- "This was a deeply disturbing case which demonstrates the depths some perpetrators will go to in order to trick and coerce vulnerable young people for their own perverse sexual gratification. It also demonstrates the extent to which predatory offenders are able to groom their victims into believing they are not actually being abused. Cases like these are the very reason we have launched our Merseyside wide Child Sexual Exploitation campaign Listen to my Story. CSE can no longer remain a hidden and unreported crime. We all need to play our part in raising awareness, recognising the danger signs and keeping our young people safe. Parents and carers need to be alert to the potential risks their children face over the internet and through social media, as well as on the streets, and we all need to be talking to our young people in a language they understand about what CSE really means. Listen to my Story is designed to put CSE at the forefront of all our minds. It is about sending out a message that we all have a responsibility to speak out if a child is in potential danger. It is also about telling our young people you are not to blame and you can come forward in confidence knowing you will be listened to, believed and understood."

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Deceased estates notice - Lilian May Jackam

Pursuant to the Trustee Act 1925, any persons having a claim against or an interest in the Estate of Lilian May Jackam (also known as Lillian May) Jackam (Deceased), late of Birch Abbey Rest Home, 55 Alexandra Road, Southport, Merseyside, PR9 9HD, UK, who died on 04/10/2018, are required to send particulars thereof in writing, to the undersigned Solicitors, on or before 24/05/2019, after which date the Estate will be distributed having regard only to claims and interests of which they have had notice. Churches Solicitors, 12 High Street, Fareham, Hampshire, PO16 7BL, UK. Ref:- 'T553015.'

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