A man has been jailed for three years for intimidating a witness involved in a court case where a paedophile was convicted for child sex offences in Wirral.
Last month, Conrad Simmons, 61 years, of Commons Road in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, pleaded guilty to two counts of witness intimidation at Liverpool Crown Court.
Simmons was convicted of attempting to intimidate a witness connected to the case of jailed paedophile David Joseph McMullan, of Demesne View in Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland.
33-year-old McMullan was sentenced to 19 years in prison with an additional five years on licence in November 2022 after pleading guilty on the first day of a scheduled trial to four counts of rape of a child under 16 at Liverpool Crown Court.
In December the court heard that Simmons had made a number of unsolicited phone calls to the family of the victim during the court case of McMullan in July and August 2022. He had also visited the family home in Wirral in September 2022, just before McMullan’s trial was about to commence.
The family reported it to police who traced the mobile number to Simmons as he had visited McMullan in prison on previous occasions.
Today, Simmons was sentenced to three years in jail and a lifetime restraining order not to contact the victim and her family.
In a statement read out in court, the mother of the victim said, “This case has had immeasurable impact on the whole family. We were prepared for the original case to be concluded in 2022 and as a mum, my priority was to make sure my children and I felt safe in the knowledge that David McMullan was sentenced for his vile crimes against my daughter, and we had the time and help to recover and heal from the terrible ordeal.
“The two defendants have ensured this has not been possible and know our address and went to such lengths to try and intimidate us which weighs heavy on my mind. I am constantly in fear.
The mother continued, “I have suffered immensely and struggled coping with each individual issues of my children have faced because of this crime. I have had lived in fear of the defendants committing further offences.
“It has been hard, and attending the various appointments for my children as a result of what has happened has put a lot of strain on me. I am always anxious that the defendants are following us to commit further offences against us.
“They committed their offences believing themselves to be above the law, contacting me on my mobile and visiting our home to intimidate us.”
Detective Constable Jennifer Davies from Merseyside Police, who led the investigation, said, “This has been very traumatic for the victim and her family. They have been extremely brave throughout the judicial process, and especially having to go through this twice which has taken a huge toll on their lives.
“Judge Driver praised the family for their dignity shown throughout the court proceedings. He said Simmons actions of witness intimidation was sophisticated and planned over a period of many months. His actions made the family feel threatened and caused insurmountable distress.
“This has been a long and complex investigation with the assistance of Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI), which highlights the importance of police forces work together across borders to bring criminals to justice.
“I would like to praise the victim and her family for their commitment and courage to seek justice, and I hope this brings closure for them to move on in their lives.”
Vikki McKenna, from Catch22, who are supporting the victim, said, “Our Merseyside team has been supporting the victim and her family ever since she was brave enough to report the abuse she had suffered to police that the now-convicted David Joseph McMullan groomed and raped her over a period of time.
“Our caseworker continues to support the victim and her family as and when needed, including throughout the investigation and the recent court case of Conrad Simmons who has today been sentenced for witness intimidation. While no sentence can reverse the trauma and emotional turmoil that has been caused by the actions of these two men, we are pleased that once again justice has been served.”
Merseyside Police, as part of their recent Force Review, now has a centralised Child Criminal and Sexual Exploitation Team who are dedicated to and focused on tackling these types of crimes, safeguarding victims, and protecting our communities.
If you are a child or young person suffering sexual or physical abuse, the following organisations can also provide help and support:
NSPCC – call 0808 800 5000 or e-mail email@example.com
Childline – call 0800 1111
If you’ve been affected by sexual violence of any kind don’t be afraid to tell someone, find the courage to come forward and get the help you deserve.
You can report rape, sexual assault and other sexual offences anonymously here: https://www.merseyside.police.uk/ro/report/rsa/alpha-v1/advice/rape-sexual-assault-and-other-sexual-offences/how-to-report-rape-sexual-assault-other-sexual-offences/
There is a lot of support available from specialist officers within Merseyside Police and through the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Victim Care Merseyside service delivered jointly by two registered charities.
In Liverpool, Sefton, and Wirral, support is provided by Rape and Sexual Abuse Support (RASA) Merseyside who are available on 0151 558 1801 and, in St Helens and Knowsley, by the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (RASASC) Cheshire and Merseyside who can be contacted on 01925 221 546 or 0330 363 0063.
Missing and Child Exploitation Services – Catch22: catch-22.org.uk
Image: Conrad Simmons/Merseyside Police