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Paedophile told gardaí he ‘started with adult porn and it spiralled out of control’ – The Irish Times

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Timmy Duggan first appeared on the radar of An Garda Síochána in April 2016 after the father of two young girls, aged 11 and 12, discovered he had been sending them messages on Snapchat asking for lewd photos.

Duggan, who was working as an assistant manager in a major supermarket chain in Limerick at the time, befriended the two girls when they bought sweets in the shop and he added them as his Snapchat friends online.

I bought [the girl] stuff as I was trying to make her feel comfortable with me and like me more

—  Timmy Duggan in Garda interview

After the intervention of the children’s father, Duggan voluntarily presented himself at a Limerick Garda station and surrendered his phone and laptop and social media accounts to investigators.

He initially denied asking the girls for naked photos but eventually admitted he had, and that he had sent them a photograph of himself lying on a bed naked from the waist up.

Despite handing up his mobile phone and laptop to gardaí, he subsequently found other ways to access children.

The 37-year-old, it emerged, encountered the mother of a seven-year-old girl through a female sex worker and was offered the child for money. Initially he told gardaí he was going to the woman’s house on a weekly basis to maintain her friendship, but eventually admitted the only goal was to groom her daughter for his sexual “kicks”.

Duggan, from Mountain Lodge, Annagh, Tralee, Co Kerry, and originally from Moyvane, Co Kerry, purchased gifts for the girl, including roller skates, a pink vanity table and make-up.

He paid the girl’s mother and a sex worker €400 each to allow him access to the girl.

He told gardaí that at the start, he had observed the girl’s mother wash her daughter naked in the shower.

Eventually he said he joined in, showering and drying the girl and touching her inappropriately.

“I did touch her in the shower naked, I paid the mother, I bought [the girl] stuff as I was trying to make her feel comfortable with me and like me more so she would let me touch her and for her to touch me; that was the reason I bought her presents,” he said in a Garda interview.

Duggan told gardaí the little girl was “scared” and “crying” as he showered her.

He told detectives the girl’s mother later performed a sex act on him in the presence of the child which he said he hoped would get the girl “used to it, to seeing me that way”.

More than three years after he initially came to Garda attention, the four-time Kerry badminton champion was in October 2019 able to throw a handwritten note at two young girls on a street as he passed by in his car, offering to pay each of them €50 to allow him perform a sex act on himself in front of them in his blue Jaguar.

The girls immediately fled with the note and gave it to one of their mothers, who passed it to a garda. Duggan was identified from his distinctive vehicle, which was traced via CCTV.

When gardaí subsequently searched the car and Duggan’s home they found a stash of similar handwritten notes and lollipops.

Each time Duggan was questioned word would get out about his behaviour, yet he would still find work as an assistant manager in two well-known supermarket chains and at a fertiliser supplier firm by joining via recruitment firms, his interviews with gardaí revealed.

It emerged too from his Garda interviews he was coaching children in badminton in Kerry and had “two other friends” on Snapchat “who are underage…13-14 years, both female”.

His crimes finally caught up with him, however.

Gardaí discovered from his phone more evidence of sexual offences against children, including pictures Duggan confirmed were sent to him by another mother of “a young naked child”.

He said he had searched online for “young escorts look pre-teen” and “how to chat up a pre-teen” and “Kids Truth or Dare Questions”.

“I like truth or dare”, he told gardaí, and confirmed under caution he has a sexual interest in children.

Gardaí suspected Duggan had engaged in text conversations with a woman about organising naked images of her young son and daughter. Duggan identified the woman on Facebook and said he had had sex with her and paid her to send him photos of her children.

He said they met on a dating app, and agreed with gardaí he was “eager” to meet the woman’s young son “in the flesh”.

He told gardaí he was “addicted” to watching “child porn”.

The woman who admitted selling images of her children to Duggan told gardaí during interviews following her arrest in August 2019 that when Duggan called to her house she was “drunk” and taking “Xanax”, and was unsure whether he had been alone with her children.

“He used to give me money for my bills. He knew I was stuck, he knew I was vulnerable. He asked for pictures of my kids, I sent them, some were naked, some were dressed,” she said.

Her barrister told her initial sentencing hearing at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court last Friday that she had been struggling to cope following the death of her partner, who had been the family’s sole breadwinner.

“Every right-thinking person would say, ‘How could a mother contemplate doing these things?’ but we are not here to be moralising.”

When asked by gardaí whether Duggan had ever been left alone with her children, the woman said: “I don’t recall, but I might have gone to the shop for five minutes, he could have been.

“I have never sat here and let that man touch my kids when I was here, I would not harm my kids,” she added.

Duggan told gardaí his addiction to children “started with adult porn and it spiralled out of control” as his urges intensified.

Gardaí discovered 19 individual payments totalling more than €3,500 transferred from Duggan’s bank account to the woman’s bank account between January 2018 and July 2019.

He was arrested for the purposes of being charged in October 2021. Asked by detectives whether he considered himself a “paedophile”, he replied: “I didn’t think so, but yes, I am.”

He said: “Initially it wasn’t for children, but when I got a taste for children, I wanted more.”

He addressed a handwritten confession to his family, dairy farmers well-known and well-respected in agricultural circles in Moyvane, Kerry, saying hiding the truth for the previous six years had “been excruciating”.

I’m sorry for causing you all this pain, I know it must be painful to read, I promise I am working very hard to better myself

—  Timmy Duggan’s note to his family

He wrote: “1st off I’m sorry things have turned out this way, but I’ve been arrested and am going to serve some jail time”, Duggan began the letter to his parents Mary and Jimmy Duggan, who were already grieving the loss of another son, James, who died in a personal tragedy in June 2015. “I’m suffering from a sex addiction and it has taken over my life, and still got worse when James passed, I’ve had it all my life but never knew, even from my earliest memory to making a hole in the bathroom door and roof to ‘spy’.”

Duggan told his family he had been attending a counsellor since 2018 “and I’m dealing with it much better now”.

Five paragraphs in, he informed his parents, brother and sister: “I got involved with a mother and her underage children, paying to see pictures. I am not proud of what I did and am extremely ashamed of my actions.”

Perhaps shielding them from the ugly truth, or returning to a state of denial, Duggan wrote: “The important thing to know is I did not touch or interfere with them. It is a good thing I got caught out as I can continue getting help and start to build my life again and focus on my future.

“This sickness is the reason why I can’t keep a girlfriend or am never satisfied in my life,” he went on.

He announced he had been fired from jobs, was unemployed and homeless, but “couldn’t tell ye because I was ashamed”.

“I’m sorry for causing you all this pain, I know it must be painful to read, I promise I am working very hard to better myself.”

Last Friday at the Circuit Criminal Court in Tralee, Duggan, along with one of the mothers, admitted a total of 29 sample charges occurring between January 2018 and October 2019.

Duggan pleaded guilty to 22 sample charges, including paying women to access their children, sexually assaulting a child, sexual exploitation of a child, encouraging a child to touch him inappropriately, possessing naked images of children which he obtained from their mothers, getting sexual kicks from intentionally having a child present when engaging in a sex act with the child’s mother, and encouraging and communicating via technology with others to facilitate the sexual exploitation of their children.

The woman pleaded guilty to seven sample charges of selling naked images of her young son and daughter to Duggan, and organising the production of child pornography.

Judge Elva Duffy described his behaviour as disturbing, depraved and obscene before sentencing him on Monday to eight years in prison with the final year suspended. The woman who sold naked photos of her children to him was jailed for three years with the final 18 months suspended.



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