Former headmaster accused of string of sex offences against young boy

William Lloyd-Lavery arrives at Craigavon Crown Court where he faces 13 charges of alleged sex abuse against a minor
William Lloyd-Lavery arrives at Craigavon Crown Court where he faces 13 charges of alleged sex abuse against a minor

A former headmaster from Lisburn has gone on trial accused of a string of sex offences against a minor in the 1980s.

William Lloyd-Lavery, who was principal of Lurgan Technical College from 1992-97 and is from Richmond Avenue in Lisburn, faces 13 sex offences allegedly committed against his male victim including indecent assault, gross indecency towards a child and taking an indecent photograph of a child.

All the offences were alleged to have been committed on dates unknown between December 29, 1980 and February 1, 1988.

Prosecuting counsel Ian Tannahill told the jury of four men and eight women at Craigavon Crown Court that it is the Crown case that Lloyd-Lavery repeatedly touched the victim inappropriately, starting from when he was around six-years-old, until he was 12 or 13.

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

The lawyer described how the alleged abuse began with Lloyd-Lavery touching the boy’s private parts and then masturbating himself on “numerous occasions”, but he claimed that alleged behaviour “progressed” to Lloyd-Lavery masturbating his young victim.

The jury was told they would also hear evidence from the victim, a man now in his 40s, that on occasions Lloyd-Lavery would take pictures of his half-naked body,

The barrister revealed the victim first reported the abuse in 1989 and gave a police statement detailing the allegations, but at that stage the PPS decided not to prosecute Lloyd-Lavery.

Lloyd-Lavery was spoken to by the police at the time and “flatly denied” any wrongdoing, claiming the complainant was a boy who was “capable of making things up”.

That initial PPS decision was revised last year, leading to the current charges.

Opening the Crown case against the 71-year-old Mr Tannahill said when the case was in the court list, the defendant and his alleged victim inadvertently met in the toilets of the courthouse when the pensioner, who looked as though he had been crying, “looked him in the face ... and said ‘I’m sorry’.”

“If you are convinced that the victim’s account is right,” argued the lawyer, “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 jury also heard, however, the defence contend that while the two men did meet in the toilet “he was not crying and there was no interaction between the two at all”.

Giving evidence, the complainant claimed Lloyd-Lavery repeatedly told him “not to say anything” about the abuse.

Under cross-examination from defence QC Ciaran Mallon about the meeting in the toilet, the complainant denied the lawyer’s suggestion that “you have made this alleged 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.

He told Mr Mallon that although he did not have a clear recollection of the layout of the living room where the majority of abuse is alleged to have taken place, he could remember the bottom half of his clothes were lowered and Lloyd-Lavery’s penis was exposed.

The lawyer suggested that with double French-style patio doors and a window giving a clear line of sight to anyone who looked in, “what you have alleged did not and could not have happened”.

“As I went through adulthood, I could only remember what I couldn’t get out of my head,” claimed the witness. “I don’t remember the double doors but obviously they are there.”

“Is that because nothing happened in that room,” asked the lawyer, but the witness claimed it did.

He told Mr Mallon the bouts of alleged abuse would have lasted for anything up to around five minutes, and conceded there would have been other people in the house at the time.

Suggesting that anyone else in the house could have walked into the room at any time, Mr Mallon put to the witness it was “absolutely, unbelievable and incredible risk taking that nothing more than the depth of a door” covered up what was happening.

The alleged victim agreed but refuted the further suggestion that his evidence was “absolute pie in the sky, it’s a nonsense”.

The trial continues.