Lonely pedophile denied jail release

HE CLAIMED to feel no sexual arousal towards any person whatsoever, but Matthew Armstrong's lonely, friendless life contained a dark and disturbing secret.

The truth about the 24-year-old's perversions eventually came out.

But it was too late for the children he sexually assaulted in the meantime.

Armstrong was due to be released from prison today after inappropriately touching a five-year-old girl in a Ballina home in 2009 when he was 18.

Three years passed between the attack and the now-diagnosed pedophile has finally faced court.

He said he was simply lonely, had no friends and the only person he could rely on was his uncle in Lismore.

However there were other assaults in the meantime, when Armstrong was aged between 16 and 19, for which he was tried as an adult.

He was convicted at Charleville District Court in Queensland of a string of offences, including touching an eight-year-old boy's genitals while they shared a bed at a youth community hostel in late 2007.

Another time he gave the same boy pornographic magazines to look at.

In 2010 he sent his victim a text message to saying: "Don't tell (name redacted) … but I'll give you 20 bucks on Monday if you send me a pic of yourself naked. Please go to the bathroom and do it now?"

The boy refused and showed the message, which Armstrong later said was just "for a bit of fun".

Another time he sent pornographic photos of a woman to his young victim.

Armstrong was sentenced to a year in jail in 2011 but was immediately released on time served.

His compliance with the requirements of his probation was poor, failing to attend psychiatric appointments or report changes of address.

He also got a new mobile phone, internet access and Skype without telling authorities.

After his release on parole in February this year over the 2009 assault, Armstrong fell almost immediately back into his old ways.

Police looked into his phone and online presence and found he had been talking to children of both sexes from around the world, including a nine-year-old girl from the Philippines he called his "beautiful princess" and "sweet angel".

He told authorities he did not class the conversations as grooming.

Armstrong's phone contained saved photos of clothed and naked young girls and evidence he had sent images of his penis to males he befriended, whom he claimed were all over 18.

His parole was revoked and he was charged with attempting to access child pornography and sentenced to another 11 months in jail.

Despite evidence to the contrary, Armstrong claimed he never masturbated or engaged in any sexual fantasies.

"The description of an absence of sexual interest or outlet in a person of Mr Armstrong's age would be considered so unusual as to be implausible," forensic psychiatrist Dr Samson Roberts said.

"His statement that he has no sexual interest in children is equally implausible having regard for the nature of his offending behaviour."

A psychologist assessed his intellectual functioning as being in the bottom 8% for his age range, but found he was not intellectually disabled.

Armstrong was due to be released today, but NSW Supreme Court Justice Robert Hulme extended his detention by a year with three-year community supervision order to be imposed upon his release.

He will be eligible for release in October next year.

-APN NEWSDESK


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