May 2006

Pensioner jailed for child abuse

A County Antrim man who raped and sexually abused one young girl and molested another has been jailed for 12 years.

William James McKillop, of Islandbuoy Road in Ballycastle, pleaded guilty to two counts of rape and two of indecent assault against one of his victims.

The 66-year-old admitted a further three charges of indecent assault against his second victim.

Antrim Crown Court heard the offences all took place between 1959 and 1975.

Sentencing the former Church of Ireland sexton, Judge David Smyth QC said the abuse had been “of the worst kind”.

The judge added that the abuse, which he described as “systematic”, had been “degrading” and also represented “a breach of trust”.

Abuse

Earlier, a lawyer for the prosecution told the court that McKillop started to abuse his first victim when she was just seven-years-old and continued to rape and abuse her until she turned 16.

He added that overlapping that abuse, McKillop was molesting the other girl from when she was aged about eight-years-old until she turned 19.

The lawyer said the offences came to light in February 2003 when the women told a church minister about the abuse they had suffered and they in turn went to the police.

He said that during police interviews, McKillop denied any wrongdoing on his part but at one point when police asked him about abusing one of the girls when they were at primary school, he told them “not while she was at primary school”.

He added that when the officers pressed him about what he did after the girl left primary school, he replied “no comment”.

Handing down the jail term, Judge Smyth warned McKillop that had he been younger or represented a greater risk to the public, his jail term would have been closer to 16 years.

“The effect of this sentence will be to take away the enjoyment of your later years but I’m quite convinced that that is what you did to your victims when they were young children,” he said.

McKillop was also placed on the police sex offenders’ register for the rest of his life.