Irish League footballer jailed for distributing indecent image of a child

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An Irish League footballer has been handed a four-month prison sentence for distributing an indecent image of a child.

Cliftonville striker Jay Donnelly, 23, of Ardilea Drive in Belfast, was convicted of the charge last November at Belfast Magistrates' Court.

Members of his family gasped in shock and wept following the sentencing.

Donnelly was granted bail pending an appeal against the sentence.

During a sentencing hearing at Belfast Magistrates' Court, it emerged that on June 21, 2016, Donnelly had taken a photograph described in court as "extremely intimate" of a 16-year-old girl while they were having sexual intercourse.

Donnelly shared the photograph with a friend and also with a WhatsApp group which included fellow Cliftonville players.

In October of that year the photograph was then leaked on Facebook.

The court heard how the girl felt humiliated and was subjected to verbal abuse on the street as a consequence.

A defence barrister for Donnelly told the court that his client was "mortified" at the photograph being leaked on Facebook and the impact it had on the victim.

He said Donnelly has expressed regret about his actions from his first police interview.

The lawyer described his client's actions as a "foolish ill-thought-out act of bravado".

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