A HIGHLY intelligent Swedish national, who identifies as an involuntary celibate, was jailed for one year for coercion of a child.
Magnus Nordell, aged 42, approached the child, who was innocently playing near her home in Cork, and asked her to go for a walk with him to nearby woods.
Detective Garda Bryan Murphy said the 11-year-old fled in distress and was physically sick when she told her mother what had happened.
Det Gda Murphy said the child gave an excellent description of the accused. She told her mother that she thought she was going to be taken and that she had seen the man near her home before.
The accused was identified and gardaí went to his home at Manor Close, Thornbury Heights, Rochestown, Cork, and arrested him. When interviewed, Nordell gave a physical description of the injured party and admitted that he had seen her on a number of occasions near her home — not in the area of Rochestown — before.
“He admitted talking to her. He denied asking her to walk with him, saying that what he said was he was going for a walk. He downplayed it and said it was a misunderstanding,” Det Gda Murphy said.
The 42-year-old came to Ireland in 2010 and described himself as having a highly sensitive personality and a member of an online group called Incel, which Det Garda Murphy described as a group of men who are involuntarily celibate and unable to find a romantic or sexual partner, despite desiring one.
Sinead Behan, defending, said the accused co-operated and identified himself as having spoken to the little girl, but with a different interpretation of events.
“He presents as very socially awkward. He has nervous twitches and so forth.
"Mr Nordell intends to leave the jurisdiction and return to Sweden and the family of the injured party would be happy with that. He has taken a Covid test and there is a flight he could take today. He has also written a letter of apology.
“He has no previous convictions. He speaks several languages and is high-functioning intellectually. He is very isolated, very introverted,” Ms Behan said.
The barrister said that, when the defendant was a child, his parents opted not to have him tested for autism as they were concerned he might be stigmatised and unable to attend general schooling.
“He knows he presented beside this child and caused her to be afraid. He is very remorseful about that. He has come back from Sweden to deal with this,” Ms Behan said.
She said he had suffered a lot of exposure on social media as the child’s mother took pictures of him in the area. The barrister said the social media exposure caused him to be even more socially isolated.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed a two-year sentence with half of it suspended.
“This was a truly frightening experience for her. It is very clear from what her mother said in the victim impact statement.
She was playing innocently when her innocence in effect was taken from her,” he said.
The judge said that he did not think the suggestion that the accused would fly home to Sweden would be an adequate response given the significant ongoing effects for the child.
Det Gda Murphy described the charge as one of coercion, brought under the Non-fatal Offences Against the Person Act, the particulars stating that the defendant acted on July 27, 2020, with a view to compelling the complainant to abstain from doing an act which she had a legal right to do, without lawful authority.