Glasgow & West Scotland

Barry McCluskey jailed for preying on 49 young girls

Barry McCluskey
Image caption McCluskey was jailed for a minimum of six years and eight months

A former male nurse who pretended to be a teenage lesbian to prey on 49 young girls on social networking sites is to be monitored for life.

Barry McCluskey, 39, from King's Park, Glasgow, admitted targeting the girls - aged 10 to 15 - between 2007 and 2010.

He also blackmailed some victims, who were contacted via Bebo and an instant messaging service.

Judge Rita Rae QC imposed a lifelong restriction order and jailed McCluskey for six years and eight months.

She said the case should act as a warning to parents whose children had unlimited access to computers.

McCluskey pleaded guilty to 49 offences during a previous hearing at the High Court in Glasgow in February.

Messaging service

The court heard how he preyed on young girls from his family home in Glasgow's King's Park, which he shared with his wife and two children.

McCluskey, who worked as a staff nurse at an un-named Glasgow hospital, prowled the Bebo social network site before contacting them via the MSN instant messaging service.

The court was told he posed as a girl called Clare or Missy and used a profile picture of a young female. He also claimed to be gay or bisexual.

Alison Di Rollo, prosecuting, said he never made face-to-face or physical contact with any of the girls.

She said he got some youngsters to strip and perform sex acts for him as he recorded the footage.

Miss Di Rollo said: "Those who were, or became reluctant, he would ask to do more - telling them if they did not, he may have to forward the video they had already done to friends."

The court heard how one of his victims begged McCluskey to stop, claiming she hated what was being asked.

Another youngster was sick with fear, felt suicidal and her hair began to fall out.

One schoolgirl pleaded with McCluskey that her mother was seriously ill and he did not understand her pain.

Video demands

But McCluskey told her: "Three more videos then I am out of your life forever."

Police began to look into McCluskey's behaviour in February last year after a complaint from the mother of a 13-year-old girl.

It was found she had been forced to carry out sex acts via a web cam.

Officers discovered that he had used 26 e-mail addresses.

McCluskey was not at home when officers went to search his house last July. He was instead found at the Erskine Bridge apparently contemplating suicide, claiming he had "done something bad".

An investigation, named Operation Trinity, later uncovered the full scale of McCluskey's behaviour.

McCluskey, who is now separated from his wife, also recorded schoolgirls as they shopped at an Asda store in the city's Toryglen area and women getting changed at a leisure centre in the Gorbals.

The court was told almost 10,000 indecent images of children were found on his computers.

Temporary judge Rita Rae QC told McCluskey he was seen as a "high-risk offender" and that he met the criteria for an order for lifelong restriction.

She said: "Very cleverly, you manipulated and tricked your way into the homes, bedrooms and minds of the children that you specifically targeted."

The judge said the case illustrated "in a most startling fashion" the "danger of allowing children uncontrolled access to social networking sites on the internet".

"I trust that this case will act as a warning to all parents whose children have unlimited access to computers," she said.

"Those same parents would not allow their children to speak to nor indeed accompany strangers in the street. However, it appears acceptable to allow children unrestricted access to the internet.

"As a result they can communicate, at times on a webcam, with complete strangers, some of whom are adept at hiding their true identity.

"The risk is that vulnerable young children may end up in a position where they are forced to carry out acts which bring them pain and which has the effect of heaping upon them feelings of guilt, shame, degradation and humiliation."

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