One of Northern Ireland’s most notorious child sex offenders has died while awaiting trial for further sex crimes, it can be revealed.
John Linton Corry — who led one of the province’s biggest St Patrick’s Day parades for 10 years, before being convicted of indecently assaulting a young girl — was found dead on Sunday.
It is understood he died suddenly. Local politicians last night said it is unfortunate that the full extent of Corry’s sex offending will never be known.
Corry was facing fresh charges of making and possessing indecent images of a child and was due in Downpatrick Magistrate’s Court today.
Instead, his funeral will take place in Saul this afternoon.
The 49-year-old, who also played St Patrick for major tourist events in Downpatrick, received a two-year suspended jail sentence last year for two counts of indecent assault on a child.
Corry, from St Patrick's Road, Downpatrick, was banned from working with children for five years and ordered to sign the sex offenders' register for 10 years after pleading guilty to abusing the girl between May 1989 and May 1991, when his victim was aged seven and nine.
He initially faced a dozen counts of indecent assault, which he denied when arraigned in March 2006.
Ten were dropped and he admitted two.
In December 2007, Corry appeared in court again charged with making an indecent photograph of a child and possessing an indecent photograph of a child.
He was released on bail of £500 and banned from using computers.
As part of his bail conditions, police were permitted to search his house as required.
In February this year he faced another charge of being in possession of an indecent photograph, or pseudo photograph, of a child.
Sinn Fein MLA Willie Clarke said it is a “shame that the truth will now never be known about (Corry’s) offending.”
“This man was convicted of abusing a young girl and was facing further sex charges,” Mr Clarke added.
“His death might be painful for anyone affected by his offending as they may feel they will now not get any justice.”
Corry was a well known figure in the Co Down area, having appeared in numerous advertising campaigns to promote the St Patrick’s Day festival each year.
Just days before his initial arrest in 2006 he had helped launch that year’s forthcoming parade which he was due to lead through the town.
But as soon as he was charged he was replaced as St Patrick by Down Council and a new ‘Saint' was drafted in for the 2006 and 2007 festivals.
The council said it was unaware of the charges when Corry headed their event advertising campaign.
A death notice in the Belfast Telegraph said that Corry’s death was “very deeply regretted”.