September 2022

‘Depraved’ paedophile who abused 19 children jailed for 11 years

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 which took place at his wife’s childminding business

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.

November 2021

Pervert who abused children at wife’s childcare business found guilty of litany of offences

A pervert who abused children at his wife’s childminding business was yesterday found guilty of litany of sex offences.

William Patterson was convicted of 79 charges of sexually abusing 19 pre-school and primary school boys and girls, the youngest of whom was three years of age, at his family home over a 13 year period starting in September 2005.

The 68-year-old is to be sentenced in January.

Patterson, whose pre-trial bail address was given as Magherafelt Road in Tobermore, Co Derry carried out the litany of abuse at his home where his wife ran a childminding business.

Because of the magnitude of the charges he faced coupled with the number of victims, he went on trial for 47 of the charges last June after which he was unanimously convicted of all of the 47 offences he had denied.

Reporting restrictions were put in place following the June convictions to enable the second trial to start on November 10 at Derry Crown Court sitting in Coleraine.

That trial finished yesterday(Tues) after which the jurors unanimously convicted Patterson of a further 32 child sex abuse offences.

At neither trial did Patterson give evidence and on his instructions his legal team did not cross-examine any of his 19 victims but some of his victims’ parents were cross examined

Mid-way through the second trial earlier this month Judge Philip Babington granted a prosecution application to disclose to the jurors Patterson’s previous convictions from last June for similar offences over the same period of time in the same locations.

The litany of abuse was uncovered after the mother of two of Patterson’s child victims heard her children talking about Patterson’s ‘willy’ and ‘penis’ after she had collected them from the childminding premises in August 2018.

The police immediately started an investigation into the allegations and Patterson was interviewed ten times between August and October 2018.

He answered “no comment” to most of the questions put to him by investigating police officers but during his final interview he told the police his wife “knew absolutely nothing about anything” and he also told the police “it would be absolutely daft of me to say that nothing happened”.

Jurors at both trials were told that Patterson abused the children at his home, in his garden, on garden swings, in a hot tub and in his garden shed.

On one occasion inside the shed he told children to watch as he masturbated through a hole he’d cut in a board of wood.

The jurors were told by a forensic scientist there was only a one in a billion chance that semen recovered from the shed and board was not Patterson’s.

He tied some of the children up as he abused them and on occasions he got them to tie him to a tree and throw sponges and water at him.

At times he got some of the children to walk naked to his shed. He also sun bathed naked in his garden in front of some of the children.

They put towels over him as he lay naked but he would throw the towels onto the grass and expose his erect penis, the court heard.

Trial judge Philip Babington remanded Patterson into immediate custody following his convictions in June of this year. Patterson will remain in custody until he’s sentenced for all of his 79 convictions next January.

After the jury forewoman announced the 32 unanimously guilty verdicts, Judge Babington thanked the jurors for the manner in which they dealt with the trial.

“These cases are not easy. They can be at times upsetting and you have dealt with it very professionally”, he said.

Judge Babington granted the jurors a five year exemption from future jury service and told them that a post trial confidential counselling and advice service was available to them.

“Family members, some of whom are in court, have been very traumatised”, he said.

Judge Babington then ordered the preparation of a pre-sentence report for January 5. Prosecution counsel told him that victim impact statements and reports might also be prepared.

Patterson was then remanded in continuing custody until he’s sentenced in late January.