Priest pleaded with group to stop attack on sex offenders
A priest pleaded with a large vigilante group to stop their violent attack on two convicted paedophiles on the run from police in south Armagh.
Local priest Fr John Heagney attempted to calm the situation, which saw people with iron bars, beat and kick James White and Alexis Gusto in Mullaghbawn on Saturday evening.
One eye-witness said she couldn’t believe the two men, who were eventually tied to a bench and covered in paint, were still alive following the vicious assault.
“They kicked them in the head. They beat them with sticks. They jeered. They took pictures of them,” she told the BBC.
“I thought one of them was dead.
“We went for the priest and he immediately came down and tried to plead with them. I know they had to be taken out of the community – but not like that.”
It is understood the two men had been hiding out in the nearby Glendesha Forest.
White and Gusto were put behind bars again after they were discharged from hospital over the weekend.
Gusto – also known as James Lydiard – appeared at Newry Crown Court on Monday morning on a bench warrant and has been remanded in custody.
White was conveyed straight to prison from hospital.
Detectives are continuing to investigate the events surrounding the pair’s apprehension and subsequent assault over the weekend.
THIS is the evil paedo tag-team on the prowl for children playing in parks and at leisure centres across Ireland
Child rapist James White, 48, and his sicko pal Jason Lydiard, 26, are now two of the most wanted men in Ireland after they were accused of targeting kids in Newcastle West, Co Limerick, and Bandon in Co Cork.
Gardai have intelligence that the duo — both originally from the North and considered “high-risk sex offenders” — have been approaching children as part of a depraved double act.
The images are the most recent pics of White and Lydiard — who, it is believed, operate by one waiting in the car while the other talks to kids.
Although the pair served time in the North, they are still required to inform gardai of their whereabouts here.
If spotted, they will be arrested over their failure to comply with their release conditions.
A Garda bulletin has now been sent to every station in the country in a bid to locate the pair.
And Lydiard — who also uses the name Alexis Guesto and considers himself a Born-Again Christian — is also suspected of using a fake social media profile as part of his plans to identify potential victims.
There are fears Lydiard, who once posted a bizarre online video claiming God had “saved” him from the “dark world of homosexuality”, could attempt to join a religious group here.
A source said: “These are two of the most dangerous sex offenders in the country at the moment and the fact they could be working together is concerning.
“There have been sightings of them in the south-west of the country but they could be anywhere now and every Garda division is now aware of their identities and backgrounds.
“If a member of the public comes across these individuals then they should contact the Gardai straight away.”
Investigators believe the pair forged an alliance after Lydiard, originally from Co Down, was freed from custody in the North earlier this year.
He had finished a seven-month sentence for ignoring a court order banning him from online dating sites.
Although he has nine previous convictions for sexual assault, assaults causing harm and threats to kill, White is considered to be the more dangerous.
The evil paedo tag team were accused of targeting kids in Newcastle West, Limerick, and Bandon in Cork
Originally from south Armagh, he was jailed here in 1998 for horrific attacks — two counts of buggery and five charges of sexual assault — on a teenage boy in Co Meath. He was freed in 2003.
The monster, who once threatened to kill a social worker with a hammer, has 62 previous convictions in all, including sexual assault, assault causing bodily harm and threats to kill.
After completing his sentence here, he returned to the North in 2006 and was living in different areas across the border.
Although the PSNI had been aware of his whereabouts, he disappeared for a year in 2015 despite being on a Sexual Offences Prevention Order — which demands he maintain contact with the police.
White later turned up in the North in 2016 and had been living in Co Down before disappearing again earlier this year.
His pal Lydiard was placed on the sex offenders register for five years and was banned from working with children after he admitted grooming and touching a boy under 16 in 2016.
During his online rant, Lydiard claimed: “(I’m) putting all my trust, all my faith and all my honesty in God. I know God is just going to change my life for the better.”