Man jailed after confessing to police about sexual activity with teenager

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A 42-year-old man who walked into a police station and confessed to engaging in sexual activity with a 15-year-old boy has started a six-month stint behind bars.

Keith Ashe and the teenager both shared an interest in buses, with Belfast Crown Court hearing the sexual activity occurred after they looked at images of buses on Ashe’s computer.

Ashe, from Harrison Walk in Belfast, was handed a two-year sentence after he admitted committing several sexual offences including causing a child to watch a sex act and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

The north Belfast man will spend six months of his sentence in prison, followed by 18 months on licence when he is released.

Ashe was also made the subject of a five-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO), and the subject of a Notification Order – placed on the Sex Offenders Register – for 10 years.

Crown prosecutor Kate McKay said Ashe’s criminality was carried out over a period from May to August last year, when the injured party was 15.

Ms McKay told the court the pair first met in November 2016, when the then 14-year-old contacted Ashe on Facebook about his interest in buses.

Defence barrister Stephen Toal said it was “highly unusual” for an offender to walk into a police station and hand himself in – particularly as the teenager had not made a complaint. This, the barrister said, was a “demonstration of his remorse, of this guilt”.