Northern Ireland

Former police photographer sentenced for sexual offences

William McConnell Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption William McConnell pictured leaving Newry Crown Court

A former civilian photographer for the police has received three years probation for sexual offences.

William McConnell, 62, of Church Square in Sion Mills was sentenced for the crimes which occurred between 2000 and 2015.

The charges included voyeurism, indecent assault and possessing an indecent photograph of a child.

McConnell, who is an ex-soldier, was placed on the sex offenders register for five years.

He also had restraining orders put in place in relation to his three victims.

Secret recording

Newry Crown Court heard that McConnell had been found guilty of the voyeurism charge earlier in 2019, but had pleaded guilty to the other charges.

The court heard that in relation to the voyeurism conviction, McConnell had been taking glamour pictures but it had been discovered that he left a camera secretly recording when he left the room.

Judge Gordon Kerr said that the offending was at the lower end, but that it included more than one victim, was repeated over time and represented an abuse of a professional relationship.

Judge Kerr said: "Probation is a better option from the public's perspective as it gives more control over him than a short prison term.

"If he doesn't attend the courses he's told to he will be resentenced."

He added: "That's a 12 month immediate prison sentence. If you come before me again that's exactly what you'll get."