Glasgow & West Scotland

Girl abuse nurse Barry McCluskey has sentence cut on appeal

Barry McCluskey
Image caption McCluskey was originally 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 has had his minimum jail term reduced.

Barry McCluskey was given a lifelong restriction order and told to serve at least six years and eight months for the abuse, which was carried out between 2007 and 2010.

The 41-year-old, from King's Park, Glasgow, appealed the minimum term.

Appeal judges have now cut his minimum term to four years and eight months.

McCluskey pleaded guilty to 49 offences during a previous hearing at the High Court in Glasgow in February 2010.

Staff nurse

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

McCluskey, who worked as a staff nurse at an un-named Glasgow hospital, trawled 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.

Ms 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.

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 2010 after a complaint from the mother of a 13-year-old girl.

'Something bad'

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

Officers discovered that he had used 26 email addresses.

McCluskey was not at home when officers went to search his house in July 2010. 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.

McCluskey was given a lifelong restriction order at the High Court in Glasgow in November 2011.

Sentences quashed

Temporary judge Rita Rae QC ordered that he should serve 40 months imprisonment as a punishment part of the lifelong restriction order.

She also ordered that he should serve a consecutive three years and four months on other charges.

McCluskey launched an appeal against his minimum jail term in May.

Judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh have now ruled that the separate consecutive sentences should be quashed and recalculated, meaning McCluskey should serve at least four years and eight months before he is eligible to seek parole.

During his appeal, McCluskey argued that a lifelong restriction order could not be competently imposed for an offence where parliament had set a maximum statutory penalty.

However, Lord Carloway, who heard the appeal with Lord Emslie and Lord Brodie, said: "There is no difficulty in the imposition of a cumulative order for lifelong restriction for both common law and statutory offences, so long as these offences are all within the defined sexual and violent categories."

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