Belfast Telegraph

Abuse house is on market

Exclusive by Ciaran McGuigan

THE former lair of a notorious sex fiend was last night on the market, after being seized by a bank.

THE former lair of a notorious sex fiend was last night on the market, after being seized by a bank.

The house from which evil Austin Johnston (45) and his stooge bride, Erica Sloan-Johnston (27), waged a campaign of vile child sex attacks is attracting bids of up to £157,000 from would-be buyers who don't know of its gruesome past.

Behind the For Sale sign, the walls and windows of the huge eight-bedroomed property, at Tyrella Road, Ballykinlar, are daubed with paint highlighting sicko Johnston's campaign of horrific abuse against a number of young children.

The graffiti claims that as many as 15 children suffered at the hands of the sex predator.

Last November, he was jailed for five years for a litany of sex offences against four young girls, aged between 11 and 15, between October 200 and November 2002.

His "brainwashed" young bride aided-and-abetted his abuse, and was handed an 18-month jail term.

Sunday Life understands that the property is being sold by a bank, after Johnston failed to make any repayments on a £33,000 loan he had taken out against the house.

Johnston had run up a string of other debts - including phone, electricity and credit card bills - before he was banged up for brutal crimes.

The sellers boast one of the property's selling points is that the house and garden are covered by CCTV.

One potential buyer told Sunday Life: "I had a look at the property, but I had no idea of its history.

"I was shocked to see the graffiti on the walls and then learn who had lived there previously."

At trial last year, the court heard how Sloan-Johnston had "facilitated" the horrific abuse carried out by her lover, but had not been present when he attacked any of the girls.

When Johnston was alone with the girls he carried out serious acts of sexual abuse, that cannot be described here.

Sloan had met Johnston when she was just 16, and shortly after her mother died.

A short time later, she moved into the home he shared with his now-estranged wife.

And wheelchair-using Johnston soon began having a sexual relationship with the then teenager - whom he later married in a bizarre blessing ceremony in 2000 - right under his lawful wife's nose.

Sloan-Johnston walked free from jail late last year, having served much of her sentence on remand. Johnston is due to be released later this year.


From Belfast Telegraph