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Belfast Paedophile teacher is freed after pleading guilty to historical sex abuse of pupils

By Michael Donnelly

Published 17/06/2015

Abuser: Eccles yesterday
Abuser: Eccles yesterday

A paedophile teacher jailed almost 15 years ago for historical sex abuse has walked free from court after admitting he abused other pupils from the same west Belfast school.

Former primary teacher Daniel Patrick Eccles (68) was handed six years in jail in 2000 for the abuse of eight boys dating back to 1975.

In May the disgraced teacher, from Granemore Road, near Keady in south Armagh, pleaded guilty to 15 charges dating back to April 1976. They included 13 of indecent assault on two boys in his P4 class, and two of gross indecency towards one of them.

Last week prosecution lawyer Tessa Kitson told Belfast Crown Court one of the victims in the new case had not previously come forward as he wanted to wait until his mother had died. Another said he was too embarrassed.

Yesterday Belfast Crown Court judge Gordon Kerr QC told Eccles that while all abused youngsters suffered harm, he considered that there was no evidence of additional harm being caused to the two victims in this case. He also noted he had been given no impact reports, nor any medical evidence, on the victims

"That being the case, I have decided not to impose further custody in this case," said judge Kerr, who suspended Eccles' sentence of two-and-a-half years for two years.

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