Northern Ireland news

Belfast man Patrick McWilliams jailed after admitting child sex offences

A FORMER university lecturer who pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a 12-year-old girl in England for sexual purposes has been jailed for three years.

Patrick McWilliams (56) formerly of Oldpark Road in Belfast, also admitted inciting sexual activity with a child and possessing child abuse images.

He was arrested at Belfast City Airport last year after boarding a flight to Leeds, where he told police he was travelling to a snooker tournament.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) had been involved in the case over three months in 2018 and had used an online decoy to target suspected paedophiles.

An officer working as a decoy engaged with McWilliams when he joined a chat forum on an adult website.

During conversations with the officer, who he thought was the child's mother, he suggested they abuse her daughter together in England.

McWilliams later changed his mind and cancelled the meeting.

As well as the jail term McWilliams will also serve three on licence on his release and will be on the sex offenders register for the remainder of his life.

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Northern Ireland news