January 2018

Victim’s relief after Derry man (60) who abused him as boy is jailed

A 60-year-old man who admitted a catalogue of sexual assaults on a boy over 40 years ago was jailed for six years yesterday.

Colin Irwin, whose address was given as Victoria Road, between Londonderry and Strabane, committed the offences in his homes in Derry from 1975 to 1978.

His victim, known as ‘X’ on court papers, was aged just eight when Irwin started sexually abusing him.

Irwin had originally denied 25 charges, but last month, on the first day of his trial after X had given his evidence before a jury, Irwin asked to be rearraigned and pleaded guilty to attempted buggery, indecent assault and gross indecency.

The victim, who attended yesterday’s hearing accompanied by a group of friends and relatives, said after the sentencing that his abuser “has gotten his just deserts”.

“Justice has been done and I am just relieved it is now all over for me,” he said.

Judge Philip Babington told Irwin that there was an element of grooming to his offending.

Irwin showed his victim “dirty magazines” before he sexually abused the boy in the bedroom of his homes.

After the abuse he told his victim “this is our secret”, and he gave the boy 50 pence.

The abuse ended in 1978 when Irwin attempted to sexually assault his victim as they sat in a van outside a shop in the Bogside.

The victim, who was then aged 11, told Irwin: “Don’t be doing that, pack it in.” The offending then stopped.

Judge Babington said because of the anguish he had endured, X did not feel able to report the matter to the police until 2012.

He said there were several aggravating factors in the case – the abuse took place over almost four years and there was a considerable age difference between Irwin and his young victim.

The judge added that there was also an element of grooming, and the abuse involved a breach of trust

Judge Babington said X had been made to feel trapped and dirty and Irwin was guilty of “gratuitously selfish behaviour”.

“You took advantage of him over a prolonged period of time for your own sexual gratification,” he said.

“You told him it was your secret. You caused such anguish and suffering to X that he waited for 35 years before he felt strong enough to bring the matter out into the open.”

As well as jailing Irwin for six years, Judge Babington placed him on the Sex Offenders Register for an indefinite period and banned him from any unapproved contact with children under the age of 16 years.

Irwin will serve four-and-a-half years of the sentence in custody and one-and-a-half years on probation after his prison release.

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