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Wednesday 17 January 2018

Sicko child abuser could be back on the streets in just 18 months

Tom Humphries. Photo: Collins Courts
Tom Humphries. Photo: Collins Courts

Paedophile sports writer Tom Humphries could be back on the streets in just 18 months, despite being caged for two-and-a-half years.

The perverted former Irish Times journalist could be free as early as April 2019 if he applied for "enhanced remission".

Humphries - who will now be known as Prisoner 108586 - will spend his time banged up in a cell on the G1 landing of Midlands Prison.

His fellow prisoners include some of the country's most notorious perverts and killers, including paedophile teacher Leo Hickey, serial child abuser Rossi Walsh and sicko murderer Graham Dwyer.

Stabbing

Hickey (77) was jailed for a year in May for sexually assaulting a young boy while teaching in a school in Co Cork in the early 1990s.

Walsh was jailed for three years in 2010 for indecently assaulting a seven-year-old girl in 1988. In 2011, he was jailed for another 12 years for sexually assaulting and defiling a child in 2008 and 2009.

Dwyer was jailed for life in 2015 for murdering Dublin woman Elaine O'Hara.

Earlier this year, up to five USB sticks were found in his cell. Prison authorities found a pornographic film on one and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on another.

Humphries will remain under "close observation" by the prison guards until he settles into his new life behind bars.

During a sentencing hearing earlier this month, the court heard how the once-prominent journalist collected a 16-year-old girl outside her school and took her to his apartment for sex after he groomed her for two years.

The 54-year-old had daily contact with the teenager and more than 16,000 texts were exchanged between them in the four months before his activities were uncovered.

His behaviour was discovered after one of his daughters found explicit text messages on an old phone in March 2011.

At yesterday's sentencing hearing, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was told Humphries' victim, whom he identified through his involvement in sports teams, became depressed and suicidal after her ordeal.

In a victim impact statement, she said she had lost her childhood and her trust in men.

The former journalist previously admitted to two charges of engaging in a sexual act with a girl under the age of 17 on December 5, 2010, and February 19, 2011.

He has also admitted four counts of sexually exploiting the same child by inviting her to engage or participate in sexually explicit, indecent or obscene acts in 2010 and 2011.

While leading Garda Jarlath Burns through the facts of the case, prosecution counsel Shane Costelloe said Humphries began texting the then 14-year-old girl in December 2008.

He said the girl did not know how he got her phone number, but assumed he got it from her GAA club.

Initially, the messages were relatively innocuous and included discussions about camogie, which she played at the time. However, he soon began sending her sexually explicit pictures.

Mr Costelloe said this seemed to "reset" the relationship and the messages reverted to being about camogie, her life and school.

However, there was a change in the content of the text messages in the summer of 2010 and they became more sexual in nature.

Humphries asked her about her sexual contact with other people and initiated conversations about her sexual experiences.

After she turned 16, the content of the text messages became more personal.

The conversations soon turned to whether they should meet up.

The girl dismissed these, but soon realised Humphries was serious. A plan was made whereby they would meet on December 5, 2010.

Humphries collected her in his car outside her school that Sunday, when she was supposed to be somewhere else.

He took her to his apartment where he undressed her to her underclothes and performed a sex act on her.

She then performed a sex act on him, the court heard.

There were other instances of defilement where the circumstances were broadly similar.

Humphries, who did not speak during the hearing, wrote a letter of apology to the girl, but the court heard she did not want to read it.

In a harrowing victim impact statement read out on her behalf, she said: "I had to deal with sexual encounters at such a young age with a man three times my age, which made me physically, emotionally and mentally ill."

Suicidal

She thanked Humphries' family for alerting gardai after they discovered what was going on.

"Without them reporting this, I do not know where I would be today. I will be forever grateful to them for saving me from this situation," she said.

She also told how she was left feeling suicidal after her ordeal. She said she had lost her childhood and felt her life had been ruined by the abuse.

"I have never felt as low and as small about myself until this happened to me. For years, it has ruined my life.

"I have never felt so angry and physically sick with myself and it seemed like I was never going to get back to normal life."

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