April 2005

Prison for paedophile headmaster

A former headmaster of a Londonderry primary school who admitted a series of sex offences against three teenage boys has been sentenced to four years.

Jude Lynch, 44, of Learmount Road in Park village, admitted 30 charges of indecent assault and gross indecency.

Two other men who also admitted a smaller number of related offences were also sentenced.

One was given an eight month prison term, while the otherreceived a six month suspended sentence.

Richard George Alan Scott, 22, of Parklands in Antrim was jailed for eight months and Ryan Alexander McInnes, 24, of Westwinds Terrace in Annahilt, was given a six month suspended sentence.

Lynch set up a paedophile ring after contacting the boys, who were aged between 13 and 15, on the internet.

He had booked hotel rooms, where he intended to carry out sexual acts with them in 2002 and 2003.


Lynch was also given a further 18 months suspended sentence on the provision that he attends counselling when he is released.

Passing sentence on Friday, Judge David Smyth QC told him that as the headmaster of a primary school he was in a position to appreciate the harm he was doing.

“There was no grooming, seduction or inducement to any of these boys,” he said.

“You made contact with the boys while they were in a gay chatroom, to which they were willingly visiting.”

However, he said that while the boys may have been willing participants, “children could not consent to that type of behaviour”.

On Thursday, Antrim Crown Court was told how Lynch made contact with the boys on a gay internet chatroom and then booked the hotel rooms in Ballymena and Belfast.

The prosecution said one of the boys received money, cigarettes and sweets from Lynch.

A defence counsel said Lynch had not forced the boys to get involved, but that they had done so voluntarily after contacting the gay chatroom.

Speaking after the sentencing, Linda McClure of Barnardo’s Northern Ireland, said: “We wish to reassure parents, carers and most importantly young people themselves that help is available.

“It is important that people who harm children in this way are brought to court and receive custodial sentences.

It sends a clear message that this behaviour is not acceptable and damaging to young people, whether they appear to be willing participants or not.”