A 69-year-old man who committed sexual offences against young children being cared for by his childminder wife has today been sentenced to an extended custodial sentence of 22 years at Coleraine Crown Court.
William Patterson was convicted of 84 offences involving 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 2005.
Margaret Kinney, a senior public prosecutor in the PPS who directed on the case, said: “These offences represent a terrible abuse of trust by Patterson who preyed upon young, defenceless children being cared for in his home. The victims were especially vulnerable due to their young ages and Patterson took advantage of this, committing a litany of offences against them.
“The PPS Serious Crime Unit worked closely with the PSNI Public Protection Branch from an early stage in their investigation to bring this offender to justice. Our prosecution team including our senior and junior counsel presented a strong case which was accepted by the jury after hearing the evidence.
“I want to commend the bravery of the victims and their families. They engaged with us throughout this long process including going through the ordeal of a trial, with several of his victims having to give evidence in court. While the impact of Patterson’s actions will stay with his victims, I hope today’s outcome brings them some comfort.
“We understand that going through the criminal justice system can be daunting for victims of sexual abuse and their families. Our prosecutors are experienced and trained in the complexities of sexual offences including the effects of trauma on victims. We work closely with partner agencies including victim representative groups to support victims, and with the PSNI to ensure that prosecutions are brought robustly and fairly.
“We would encourage anyone who is the victim of a sexual offence to report their experiences to police. We in the PPS are aware of the huge impact that sexual offences can have on victims and we are committed to ensuring that the interests of victims are considered at every stage of the process.”