Sex shame of former Scout helper, councillor and football coach
To almost everyone who knew him, David Byrne was an upstanding member of the community, but his public facade hid a dark secret and today he was found guilty of a series of historic sex offences against young boys and is facing a long stretch behind bars.
Bryne had denied all the charges against him, claiming he had been the victim of a conspiracy, but it took only a few hours for the jury at Taunton Crown Court to find him guilty of four charges of sexual assaults on young boys, dating back to 1979.
The trial took place between June 11-15, 2018, at Taunton Crown Court, before Recorder Richard Onslow.
Philip Warren was the prosecutor in the trial, while Rebecca Bradberry acted for the defense.
During the trial, the court heard that Byrne had been interfering with young boys he met through football and other activities. The first victim told the court he had been aged around 12 or 13 years old when he carried out ‘dares’ in exchange for money from Byrne. They included showering at Byrne’s home while he watched, and touching himself in the shower while Byrne watched on, as well as rubbing deep heat into his scrotum while Byrne watched.
A second victim said he took part in a ‘medical exam’ which saw Byrne cupping the victim’s testicles, while the third had been told to strip off as part of a medical procedure and that Byrne had groped his groin, penis and testicles.
The court heard Byrne had an unhealthy interest in young boys and advised them not to wear underwear while playing football.
For his part, Byrne denied all the charges and claimed the victims had been lying, and two had collaborated and fabricated their stories.
The jury was sent out late on Thursday afternoon and returned guilty verdicts in all four cases at around 11.30 on Friday morning. The case was adjourned so a pre-sentence report could be carried out, but he was warned he is inevitably facing a jail sentence for his crimes.
He was made to sign the Sex Offender’s Register and has been released on bail until his sentencing hearing on July 20.
Here’s what you need to know about the double life of David Byrne – a sex offender hidden behind the guise of a public stalwart.
The 55-year-old from West Hendford was born on August 14, 1962, first attending school in Wales before moving to the West Country and attending schools in Ilchester, Langport, Yeovil and Buckler’s Mead Comprehensive.
He left school at 15, before going to Yeovil College, and then Cannington College two years later.
His first job was as an apprentice in Amenity Horticulture, tending to plants, parks and other land used for leisure with the now-defunct Yeovil Borough Council.
He was based at Penn Mill for six months, then Mudford Recreation Ground and also various spots in Somerset, and owned his own landscape garden business.
Outside of his work, he spent his spare time as an assistant in the cub scout movement and was active in a number of youth groups including a group at The Church of St Mary, Mudford, a youth club at Holy Ghost Church, Yeovil, Yeovilton, Cannington and St Michael’s and St Andrew’s, Yeovil. He also ran the Marian Hall youth club for eight years, with the club closing in 1993.
He was also involved with a number of football clubs, including the Yeovil Colts, Bridford, Beaminster and Sherborne and acted as league representative for the Dorset Football League under 18s.
He married on September 11, 1993 and remains married to the same woman. The couple were active in the Education First programme, where they would host international exchange students at their home while they studied.
Byrne was also involved in the Dorset County Football Association, running adult teams, until two years ago when the inquiry which led to this trial began.
He was also a Conservative councillor who served on Yeovil Town Council representing the town’s Central Ward until 2016, when the allegations first came to light.