December 2019

McDonald’s toilets voyeur raped girl he groomed at children’s play centre

A paedophile who spied on children in McDonald’s toilets raped a girl he groomed at a kids play centre.

Matthew Quirk has spent 15 years targeting victims as young as three at fast food restaurants across Merseyside.

The depraved voyeur has followed children into McDonald’s and supermarket toilets in Liverpool, Wirral and St Helens.

The 37-year-old, of Winter Grove, St Helens, has also been convicted of downloading indecent images of children.

But Liverpool Crown Court today heard his sick crimes began when he was working for Wirral Borough Council.

Quirk admitted rape and three counts of indecent assault, all relating to a 12-year-old victim in the early 2000s.

Then 20-year-old Quirk was a play centre worker at a council facility she attended during summer holidays.

Philip Astbury, prosecuting, said Quirk started favouring the girl during games and holding hands with her.

He secretly touched her leg and groomed her until she believed they were a couple and took his phone number.

Mr Astbury said: “She secretly – as she thought – called and texted him using her mum or dad’s phone.”

The girl’s dad discovered messages from Quirk saying he was on holiday getting drunk and he loved her.

She recalled attending an official meeting before Quirk – who the council fired – stopped contacting her.

Mr Astbury said: “Social services were informed, though it’s not clear what action, if any, was taken.”

The girl later cycled over to Quirk’s house and was told to leave by the pervert’s mum.

But he then posted a letter through her door with a passport photo and his new mobile number.

Quirk rang the girl one afternoon and asked to meet her at a pub, where he had been drinking.

He bought her four bottles of WKD from a shop, which she drank, and they kissed until he suggested they “go somewhere quiet”.

Quirk led her to woodland, laid her down and molested then raped her, before revealing he hadn’t used a condom.

Mr Astbury said: “She described how uncomfortable she felt lying on the ground amongst the dirt and debris.”

The victim never heard from him again and struggled to deal with what happened, eventually confiding in her brother and partner.

Years later during counselling sessions she was encouraged to speak to police, which led to Quirk being questioned in January.

Quirk told police the allegations were “a load of crap” and then made no comment.

The now adult woman said: “What Matthew did has had an enormous impact on my life. It’s affected every relationship I’ve had since.”

She struggled to trust anyone, suffered from depression, anxiety and an eating disorder, and nearly killed herself three times as a teen.

Mental health issues ended her career, she struggled to be intimate with her husband, and experienced disturbing nightmares.

She said it now affects how she parents her own children, adding: “I’m terrified of something similar happening to them and have no idea how to cope with that.”

The victim told the court: “I can’t imagine having a life in the future not burdened by what he did to me.”

Judge Sophie McKone replied: “Somebody doesn’t need to be instructed that it’s wrong to rape a child that you’ve got care of.”

Mr Linskill said Quirk was at his parents’ silver wedding anniversary and had drunk a considerable amount of alcohol, which was not any defence.

However, he said: “It may have affected his sensibilities and his ability to control what undoubtedly by now were sexual urges in relation to the child.”

He said Quirk had no mental health issues, but “a firm recollection of being abused by a next door neighbour who his parents used as a babysitter”.

Mr Linskill said: “He believes that abuse, which never seems to have come to light or been reported to the authorities, had a significant effect upon his psyche and his attitude to matters sexual.”

He added: “He is now in a steady relationship with a gentlemen who he met at a form of sheltered accommodation.

“Of course that relationship may come to an end as a result of what is likely to happen to him today.”

Judge McKone told Quirk: “Your selfishness and depraved sexual desires have almost ruined your victim’s life.

“You groomed a then 12-year-old when you were put in a position of trust over her.

“You thought she was lonely in that group and no doubt that is why you targeted her for your attention.”

The judge said Quirk plied the girl with alcohol before raping her in a secluded area, which had a “profound effect” on the victim.

She said the best thing that could be said for him was that he had at least spared his victim the trauma of a trial.

Judge McKone found he was a dangerous offender and jailed him for nine years and four months, with an extended two years on licence.

This type of sentence means the pervert will spend at least two thirds of the sentence – just over six years – behind bars.

He will then only be released before the end of his prison sentence if a parole board decides he is no longer a risk.

Quirk must sign on the Sex Offender Register and comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for life.

March 2014

Jail for sex offender who loitered near toilets at tesco, Langtree Park

A SEX offender with a conviction for secretly filming children has been sentenced to 16 months in prison after he was spotted loitering around a public toilet.

Matthew Quirk was jailed for breaching the terms of a court order after he was seen by plain clothes policemen entering the toilets at Tesco at Langtree Park in January.

Last August Quirk had been given the Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) when he was seen acting suspiciously in The Range store in St Helens.

A mother made an allegation that the 31-year-old had followed her child into the toilets on two occasions.

Although he had not committed a criminal offence police took out a civil action against him because of his previous pattern of behaviour.

The SOPO was aimed at preventing him from entering any public toilet.

In a previous hearing at St Helens Magistrates’ Court, prosecutor Angela Blackmore explained that Quirk, from Phoenix Brow, was spotted by officers entering the toilets in Tesco.

He was arrested and admitted during interview that he had been “daft” going into the toilets because he was aware it breached his order.

Mrs Blackmore dismissed his excuse that he had been suffering from a stomach upset saying that he had spent several hours in St Helens prior to his visit to the supermarket, including time spent at his home address.

Court heard how Quirk accepted he was attracted to under age children and needed help and he didn’t want to put “anyone else in harm or have any more victims”.

Quirk, who has six convictions for 27 offences, nine of which are of a sexual nature, must also pay a £100 victim surcharge.

February 2014

Sex offender breaches order

A pervert previously convicted of secretly filming children has been remanded in custody after breaching the terms of a court order by loitering around a supermarket’s toilets.

Matthew Quirk was spotted by plain clothes police officers entering toilets in Tesco, Langtree Park on January 13.

This was in breach of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) which had been imposed last August preventing him from entering a public toilet.

The order was brought against Quirk, who was convicted of two counts of voyeurism in 2006 and received a suspended jail sentence, after he was spotted acting suspiciously in The Range store in St Helens last year.

A woman had made an allegation that Quirk had followed her child into the toilets on two occasions.

Although no criminal offence was committed, police took out civil action against him due to his previous pattern of behaviour.

In a hearing at St Helens Magistrates’ Court the 31-year-old from Phoenix Brow, who was dressed in a grey prison sweatshirt listened as prosecutor Angela Blackmore outlined how he had breached the order by going into public toilets at the Tesco store last month.

“The officer entered the male toilets where there were two urinals, both of which were unoccupied. One of the cubicles was locked.

“As the officer went into the next cubicle the other was unlocked and he heard water running. As he (officer) opened the door the defendant was seen walking away.

“There was no one else in the toilets. He was then seen going back to the toilets a short time later, leaving quickly as if he had gone in and gone straight back out.

“He was approached by two officers and arrested.”

Mrs Blackmore said that during interview Quirk admitted he had been ‘daft’ for going into Tesco toilets because he knew it breached his SOPO.

She said that he accepted he needed help with his attraction to under age children and didn’t want to put “anyone else in harm or have any more victims”.

On the day in question Quirk had returned from an appointment in Liverpool and claimed to have visited Tesco because he had an upset stomach.

However Mrs Blackmore said that he had spent several hours in St Helens including at his home address.

He was also seen in the Matalan store looking at children’s clothing before going to the supermarket.

Quirk has six convictions for 27 offences, nine of which were sexually related.

Magistrates dismissed appeals for his release on bail saying that the matter was so serious that only crown court could deal with the matter.

He was remanded in custody until a sentencing date in March.