Cliftonville striker Jay Donnelly jailed for distributing indecent image of child

An Irish League footballer has been handed a four-month prison sentence for distributing an indecent image of a child.

Cliftonville striker Jay Donnelly, 23, of Ardilea Drive in Belfast, was convicted of the charge last November at Belfast Magistrates’ Court.

Jay Donnelly has been jailed for distributing an indecent image of a child. Pic by Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

Jay Donnelly has been jailed for distributing an indecent image of a child. Pic by Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

At a court hearing this morning, members of his family gasped in shock and wept following the sentencing.

Donnelly was granted bail pending an appeal against the sentence.

During the sentencing hearing at Belfast Magistrates’ Court, it emerged that on June 21, 2016, Donnelly had taken a photograph described in court as “extremely intimate” of a 16-year-old girl while they were having sexual intercourse.

Donnelly shared the photograph with a friend and also with a WhatsApp group which included fellow Cliftonville players.

In October of that year the photograph was then leaked on Facebook.

The court heard how the girl felt humiliated and was subjected to verbal abuse on the street as a consequence.

A statement issued by Cliftonville FC following the hearing said the club will give the judgement “due consideration”.

“Following the outcome of the court case involving Jay Donnelly, the judgement of the court and the intended appeal have been noted.

“The judgement, as well as the outcome of the appeal, will be given due consideration by Cliftonville Football Club.

“The club are mindful of their duties and responsibilities and will continue to act on this basis,” the statement said.