'˜Significant sentence' warning for Coleraine man over sex offences

A Coleraine marketing executive who admitted being a paedophile has been warned that 'a significant sentence is very much on the cards'.

Monday, 4th December 2017, 11:38 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 1:02 pm

Standing in the dock of Antrim Crown Court in a dark suit, white shirt and blue tie, 25-year-old Steven Toms entered guilty pleas to nine counts of engaging in sexual activity involving penetration with a child under 16 on dates unknown between 1 March and 1 December last year.

Toms, a former marketing executive for a local car dealership who is from Windyhall Park, pleaded not guilty to three lesser charges of sexual activity with the same female child and prosecution QC Neil Connor said while he would take instructions from the PPS, he told Judge Desmond Marrinan “its highly unlikely that there will be a trial”.

“Yes particularly given that he has pleaded to the more serious offences from the courts point of view, it probably won’t make much difference to the gravamen and the sentence,” said the judge.

Remanding Toms back into custody and adjourning the case to later this month, Judge Marrinan told him he would be entitled to significant credit for pleading guilty at the first opportunity.

“These cases are horrific to run and no matter how well intentioned and careful and professional a cross examination can be, it’s horrible to see young people undergo giving evidence,” said the judge.

Despite his early plea he warned Toms however that given the serious nature of his crimes, “a significant sentence is on the cards.”