May 2018

‘Predator offender’ paedophile ex-teacher jailed for 13 years

A former head of maths at a Co Down grammar school has been jailed for 13 years for child sexual offences.

Patrick James Carton, who taught at St Colman’s College in Newry, was described by the judge as a “persistent, predatory and opportunistic offender who abused young people”.

Standing in the dock of Downpatrick Crown Court, sitting in Antrim, the 75-year-old appeared shocked at the sentence while his relatives in the public gallery cried at the verdict.

Carton, of Marguerite Close in Newcastle, Co Down, had been found guilty in March on 29 counts of indecent assault committed on various dates between February 1983 and June 2007.

The sentences for each of his six victims are to be served consecutively, and Judge Brian Sherrard said: “I consider that the global sentence is entirely in keeping with your course of persistent offending.”

A Sexual Offences Prevention Order to run alongside the prison sentence was also imposed, and Carton was ordered to sign the police sex offenders register for the rest of his life.

The trial jury heard that Carton, who also taught at De La Salle in Downpatrick, had given private maths lessons to the victims, abusing them in their own bedrooms.

Jailing the paedophile pensioner, Judge Sherrard told Carton that he had been a “beacon of respectability,” had devoted his career to teaching maths to children “with some considerable success” and was held “in high esteem”.

During the seven-week trial, the jury of seven women and five men heard testimony from each of the six victims, all of them teenagers at the time of the abuse, that Carton had a “star system” of discipline.

Three stars served “as a warning,” four resulted in a smack, five stars got a smack over underwear and six stars meant the pupil was smacked on his or her bare bottom.

The victims gave evidence that on occasions, Carton instructed them to lie on their bed where he smacked them but that in other incidents, they were “put across” his knee.

One woman said the abuse had “ruined” her life, while the male victim recounted how Carton pulled his pants down to smack him while being taught maths at his home, describing one specific incident where he had to “fight him off with his pants around his ankles” because Carton would not stop hitting him.

During police interviews, Carton told police the families had asked him to tutor their children through “word of mouth,” claiming he did not smack the children to punish but in his mind it was to challenge them and had been done with the parents’ consent.

He denied gaining any sexual gratification or any criminal wrongdoing, telling police it was “the most effective method” that led to “the best results”.

In court on Wednesday, prosecuting lawyer Laura Levers submitted there were numerous aggravating features to the case, including breaching the trust that was placed in Carton in that he “exploited the tutoring arrangements in order to abuse” the teenagers as well as the “sheer number” of victims spanning some 24 years.

March 2018

Retired Co Down maths teacher guilty of indecent assaults

A former head of maths at St Colman’s College in Newry has been convicted of indecently assaulting five girls and a boy he was privately tutoring outside school.

A jury at Downpatrick Crown Court found 75-year-old Patrick Carton unanimously guilty of 28 charges of indecent assault and by a majority decision of a further count, committed between 1983 and 2007.

Carton, from Marguerite Close in Newcastle and who taught at St Colman’s in Newry and De La Salle in Downpatrick during his career, remained impassive in the dock as the verdicts were announced.

Judge Brian Sherard adjourned passing sentence to April 27 and he was freed on continuing bail but ordered to sign the police sex offenders register.

During his seven-week trial, the jury heard similar testimony from each of the six victims – all teenagers at the time of the abuse – that he had tutored them in maths in their bedrooms and had a “star system” for discipline.

They were told that three stars served “as a warning”, four resulted in a smack, five stars got a smack over underwear and six stars meant the pupil was smacked on his or her bare bottom.

The victims said Carton sometimes instructed them to lie in their bed where he smacked them, but in other instances were “put across” his knee.

One of the women told the jury she had repeatedly told him to stop but it was “very hard” for a teenager to challenge a 50 year-old man.

She said when he first told her of his methods she was “shocked” and thought her tutor was “joking”.

“I told him I didn’t want to get smacked. I didn’t like it. It was not right,” she said.

“He said this would make me pass my maths. It would make my parents proud.”

She also told how, when she was in lower sixth and before she got her A-level results, the abuse escalated to sexual touching with Carton telling her it was her “award” for doing well in her lessons.

Another woman gave emotional testimony that the abuse she suffered had “ruined” her life, while other victims told how they remembered their tears falling onto their work sheets and how the smacking left them unable to concentrate.

The male victim recounted how Carton pulled his pants down to smack him while being taught maths at his home in the 1980s, describing one incident where he had to “fight him off with his pants around his ankles” because Carton would not stop hitting him.

Carton told police that various families had asked him to tutor their children through “word of mouth”.

He claimed he did not smack the children to punish them but to challenge them, and it had always been done with parents’ consent.

He denied any criminal wrongdoing or gaining sexual gratification, telling police it was “the most effective method” that led to “the best results”.

By their verdicts, however, the jury rejected his claims.