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Supply teacher travelled from England to meet ‘incredibly vulnerable’ child five times

Omagh Courthouse. Photo: Kenneth Allen / Geograph

A supply teacher who has travelled from England five times since February to meet with an “incredibly vulnerable child who he completely manipulated” has been remanded in custody.

Andrew Harrison (43) of Staining Road, Blackpool is charged with possessing an indecent image of a child, giving alcohol to a minor and assaulting a woman.

A charge of attempting to pay for the sexual services of a child between August 1, 2023 and June 8 this year was not proceeded with.

A detective constable told Enniskillen Magistrates’ Court the charges could be connected.

He explained in the early hours of June 8 police received a report from the girl’s parents stating she had been kidnapped by Harrison.

The family had met him while staying at holiday park in Blackpool last year, where he worked as a barman.

The parents informed police they become aware their daughter was going outside to meet Harrison, who was parked in the street.

A verbal argument ensued resulting in him pushing the girl’s mother in the chest.

The child was crying and Harrison told her to get into his car, which she did and he drove off.

Police spoke with her by phone around 3am and Harrison drove her back to meet them.

The parents confirmed being served by Harrison at the holiday park, noting he paid particular attention to the girl.

After returning home she “exclaimed that she’d found him on Facebook. This concerned her parents who, on looking through her phone, discovered a completely naked image of Harrison”.

The parents removed her phone for three months but unknown to them she remained in contact with him through social media and it transpired he had posted phones to her under different names to avoid being found out.

He has travelled to Tyrone on five occasions since February 2024 with the sole purpose of meeting the girl, providing her with vapes and alcohol, and at least once kissing her intimately.

Shortly before the alleged kidnapping the parents observed alcohol in the house and confronted the girl, who denied Harrison was back in Northern Ireland.

He was, however, “parked in the usual spot”.

The detective said: “The family has gone to great lengths to protect this child. They removed her phone, installed cameras outside the house and an alarm. They are extremely concerned about her vulnerability as she seems completely enamoured by this man.”

Objecting to bail, the detective said Harrison “isn’t appearing on any police systems. His driving licence shows the address of his friend and as yet we’ve nothing to corroborate his identity if released.”

The detective also expressed fears of witness interference “given his tendencies to post phones to the girl using different names. She is incredibly vulnerable and has been completely manipulated by this individual”.

In addition the detective said: “Further concerns have been highlighted by the defendant’s employer at the holiday park where he has been residing. Six weeks ago he was dismissed for inappropriate contact with another child and attempts are underway to identify her.”

Harrison claims to be a supply teacher and due to start a job meaning “there’s a real risk to children if released”.

A defence solicitor stressed there is no charge of kidnapping and the girl sought Harrison on Facebook of her own accord.

He said the defendant’s parents address in Scotland is available and his sister, who is also a teacher, is willing to provide a cash surety.

However, District Judge Alana McSorley, refused bail stating: “The risks are too great and I am not completely convinced in respect of the defendant’s identity.”

Harrison will appear again by video-link at Omagh Magistrates’ Court on July 2.

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