Northern Ireland news

'Depraved' paedophile who abused 19 children jailed for 11 years

William Patterson leaving an earlier hearing in Magherafelt

A 69-year-old man has been jailed at Derry Crown Court for 11 years on a series of sex abuse charges against 19 children.

William Patterson, whose address was given as Magherafelt Road in Tobermore, Co Derry, had been convicted of a total of 84 charges after two separate trials.

The court heard that the children, both girls and boys, were aged between three and 12-years-old at the time of the offending which took place over a 13-year period from June 2005 until August 2018.

The offences took place while the children were being looked after by Patterson's wife who was a childminder.

Outlining some details of the offences, Judge Philip Babington said that it had taken place at various locations throughout the property.

He said over 20 of the offences involved exposure charges when the defendant would sunbathe naked in front of the children.

On some occasions, the children placed a towel over him but Patterson removed it.

Other offences took place in a workshop Patterson had where he would tie the children up and remove their clothing and 'tickle' them.

On other occasions, he would touch the children or get them to touch him.

Other offences included sexual assault, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child.

Judge Babington said all the victims were very young when the offending occurred and added "one must hope that as the years go by the memories of what had occurred will fade."

The judge said that when asked by probation services about his offending, the defendant said he was a born-again Christian and "sex was not an important aspect within his life."

The defendant continued to deny any wrongdoing.

The report went on to say the defendant used various strategies to "groom his victims, to manipulate them and gain their trust."

The court heard that Patterson was deemed as being dangerous.

Describing Patterson as "a prolific serial predator" the judge commended the victims for coming forward thus stopping "this depraved man from further offending".

He said Patterson had not demonstrated "a scintilla of remorse".

Patterson was jailed for a total of 22 years and an extended custodial sentence imposed which means that after serving half his sentence Patterson will only be released with the approval of the parole commissioners.

He must sign the Sex Offender's Register for an indefinite period and had a Sexual Offences Prevention Order imposed which will begin after his custody ends.

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