September 2023

Co Antrim paedo’s mum defends son, saying he ‘didn’t know abuse victims were children’

A cowardly paedophile convicted over indecent images of kids as young as six claimed he “didn’t know they were children” while hiding behind his mother.

William Sholdis (33) was ordered to sign the sex offenders register last week after he admitted a raft of charges at Antrim Crown Court.

He entered guilty pleas to 18 counts, including making indecent images of children, possessing banned images of children and extreme pornography.

Titles of some of the images and videos, which are too graphic to publish, contain ages of the victims and include descriptions of bestiality as well as using the word “underage”.

When Sunday Life approached Sholdis at his home in the Co Antrim village of Ballynure, he initially barked “No!” at their reporter before slamming the door shut.

As the reporter walked away, however, Sholdis’ mother Anne came to the door and indicated she wanted to speak on her son’s behalf.

“He didn’t realise they were under 18,” she said, while a sheepish Sholdis cowered behind her just inside the doorway.

She went on to insist her son believed the children to be over 18, despite court papers revealing the children abused are thought to be as young as six years of age.

“He didn’t know it was wrong,” she continued: “He thought they were over 18, but they were teenagers and that’s what happened and he admitted to it.

“He’s going on courses to help him, he has autism and other disabilities and during lockdown he had went into an area he wasn’t aware of.

“I know, I can see two sides to the story.

“I don’t like to see anything bad happening to children, I have my own grandchildren, I wouldn’t want anything to happen to any child.

“But at the same time I look and this has happened to my son who is vulnerable and has disabilities.“

Sholdis’ offending spanned between August 2019 through to March 2021, according to the indictment.

Standing in the dock of Antrim Crown Court on Monday he admitted 10 counts of making indecent images of children, six counts of having prohibited images of children and two of having extreme pornography.

His mum Anne revealed the family had already been hounded from their home on foot of the offending and said she feared a repeat incident while pleading her son’s case.

She said: “Where we were living before, once the police came to the home we were put out of our house and I wouldn’t like that to happen again. I’m 75 and my husband is 80.

“Our whole family supports him and is trying to keep him on the right path and to encourage him away from negativity and show him what’s right and what’s not.

“It’s a strenuous and stressful time for us.”

On Monday, Judge Alistair Devlin freed Sholdis on bail until his sentencing in November and ordered the pervert to sign the sex offenders register.