A MAN with an address in Schull, but originally from the Shetland Islands, sent sexually explicit text messages and images to at least 10 women, a court has heard.
Jeff Cheyne, 58, pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to 10 sample counts of harassment of women on an indictment that contained 41 charges.
Garda Martin Bohane said: ‘Initially five women contacted gardaí about receiving texts and picture messages of a sexual nature. The messages were all from one number that they did not recognise.
‘Following an investigation no name was connected to the phone which was pay-as-you-go.’
The guard said that after the initial period of sexual texting the offences died down for a while. Then another number of women came forward to complain that they had received similar messages of a sexual nature.
Garda Bohane said that after another lull the messages started again and more women came forward with statements of complaint.
Garda Bohane said his colleague Garda Anthony Rush became involved in the investigation and he saw the accused man, Jeff Cheyne, on CCTV at a shop getting credit for the phone in question.
Cheyne was living in Schull at the time. The address on the charge sheet was of Loughtea, Ballina, Co Tipperary, and he has since moved to Co Clare, his barrister, Ben Shorten said.
Garda Bohane said there was a total of 10 complainants referable to this accused in a period from 2014 to 2016.
‘These messages stopped once he was identified by gardaí. Once the evidence was put to him he made full admissions. He is from the Shetland Islands,’ Garda Bohane said.
The accused moved to Donegal in 2000 and lived for a time in Dingle before moving to Schull. He had no previous convictions.
Siobhán Lankford, prosecution barrister, said the women were quite distressed by the content of the texts sent to them.
There was no evidence on how he got the numbers of the women he was texting or of the precise messages or images that were sent other than that they were of a sexual nature.
Mr Shorten said the accused was remorseful and apologetic to the women. ‘He spoke about the sheer stupidity of his actions,’ Mr Shorten said.
The barrister said Cheyne’s partner was in court to support him.
Mr Shorten asked Judge Gerard O’Brien if he would consider a lengthy adjournment to allow the accused to undergo psycho-sexual counselling and take part in the Safer Lives programme.
Judge O’Brien put sentencing back until October 25th.