Ex-headmaster William Lloyd-Lavery: Conflicting evidence over alleged apology

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William Lloyd-LaveryImage source, Pacemaker
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William Lloyd-Lavery is on trial for child sex offences at Craigavon Crown Court

The trial of a former headmaster accused of historical sex abuse has heard conflicting evidence about an alleged apology to the complainant.

William Lloyd-Lavery, from Richmond Avenue in Lisburn, was principal of Lurgan Technical College from 1992-97.

The prosecution said that on Monday the defendant and his tearful alleged victim met in courthouse toilets when Mr Lloyd-Lavery "looked him in the face... and said 'I'm sorry'".

However, the defence contended that while the two men did meet in the toilet, the accuser "was not crying and there was no interaction between the two at all".

The 71-year-old is facing 13 sex offences at Craigavon Crown Court.

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) counsel said: "If you are convinced that the victim's account is right, you would be entitled to draw an inference that it's an admission that he had done something wrong and had something to apologise for, draw an inference that that is actually an apology for abusing him."

The complainant denied the defence lawyer's suggestion that he made the encounter up.

"No I'm not," declared the witness, "I have sworn in the Bible that I will tell the truth."

"Whether it was because he had to brush past me to get out or what, I don't know," said the witness.

Mr Lloyd-Lavery is accused of 13 sex offences against a male victim, including seven counts of indecent assault and one of taking an indecent photograph of a child, on dates unknown between 29 December 1980 and 1 February 1988.

The abuse allegedly started when the boy was about six years old.

The jury heard how the then schoolboy routinely went to Mr Lloyd-Lavery's home on a Sunday when he was visiting a relative who lived close to the alleged paedophile.

The PPS said allegations of abuse were first reported to police in 1989 but, at that stage, the PPS decided not to prosecute Mr Lloyd-Lavery. He denied any wrongdoing to police.

The initial PPS decision was revised last year and charges were brought against him.

The trial continues.

This article was updated on December 23, 2019 in order to add more evidence heard by the court.