Northern Ireland

County Down man jailed for abusing three boys

Lady Justice
Image caption The court heard the abuse occurred between 1977 and 1983.

A County Down man who abused three boys under the age of 13 over a six-year period has been jailed for 12 months.

The 53-year old grandfather, who cannot be named, will spend an additional 18 months on probation when he is released from prison.

Downpatrick Crown Court, sitting in Belfast on Thursday, heard the abuse occurred between 1977 and 1983.

The defendant was aged between 14 and 19.

The abuse occurred in various locations in the County Down village where both the abuser and his victims lived, including in their homes as he babysat and in a disused lorry.

He pleaded guilty to a total of 22 offences, including multiple counts of indecent assault and gross indecency.

The judge said it was "quite clear that on each occasion, you isolated the victims in order to abuse them ... and you kept them available to you and you alone."

Accepting that the defendant had a troubled upbringing and was an alcoholic, the judge also noted there had been no further offending since 1985.