Belfast Telegraph

Ballycastle paedophile postman jailed for three years

Daniel Hill was handed three years in prison.
Daniel Hill was handed three years in prison.

By Paul Higgins

A former postman turned paedophile, convicted of sexually abusing three young schoolgirls, was jailed for three years on Thursday.

Jailing 68-year-old Daniel Hill at Antrim Crown Court, Judge Brian Sherard said it was his view the opportunistic pervert, who maintains his innocence and has shown no remorse, still presents a danger to children.

“You continue, and will continue to represent a serious danger...to prepubescent children,” the judge told Hill, adding that the fact he now has no “sustained family network would in fact serve to highlight or heighten that risk.”

At the end of his month long trial last year Hill, from the Clare Road in Ballycastle, was convicted of seven counts of indecently assaulting the three young girls on unknown dates between 9 November 1995 and 13 June 2001.

The jury who convicted Hill heard how the three victims would often come to his house to play with his daughter and that is where they were sexually abused from an early age of around five until they were around ten when they would have been in P1 to P6.

The abuse amounted to Hill groping the girls’ breasts, bottoms and private parts.

Rehearsing the facts of the case at an earlier hearing, prosecuting lawyer Tessa Kitson took each victim in turn, reminding the court how the first victim testified how Hill touched her breasts under her clothing “approximately 20 times.”

The former postman was convicted of three counts of indecent assault against this victim and the lawyer said as well as touching her breast area, Hill also touched her between her legs “over her clothing.”

During one sleep over however, Hill “put his hand down the front of her pyjamas around her genital area, under her pants and kept his hand moving around for some time.”

Another victim gave similar testimony that when she was there “watching a scary movie,” Hill had put his hands down the back of her pyjama bottoms and felt her backside, an attack which happened on more than one occasion.

The third victim, said Mrs Kitson, described how Hill had groped her around the area of her chest “on a number of occasions.”

The jury also heard evidence that in 2001, the girls’ teacher intercepted a note being passed around that said “I hate Danny Hill; I hate him too; I hate the way he puts his hand down your pants.”

The note was given to Eamon Magee, the headmaster of St. Patrick’s & St. Brigid’s Primary School, but despite arranging a meeting with the parents of all three girls, the note was never shown to them nor its contents read to them.

At the time, Hills’ wife was also a teacher at the school and Mrs Kitson revealed how one victim only realised her father had not seen the note when the trial was up and running.

“As a child of ten, right until this trial started, she had always believed that her father had been shown the note and decided to do nothing about it but brush it under the carpet,” said Mrs Kitson who continued:

“This was in 2001, not the 40’s or 50’s or a Magdalene Laundry setting - any delay in this case lies fairly and squarely at the feet of Mr Magee....and that is something that Mr Magee should reflect on and address his mind to.”

In court on Thursday, Mrs Kitson highlighted numerous aggravating factors including the fact that Hill had abused multiple victims, all of whom were vulnerable due to their “extreme youth” and that by touching them inappropriately, he had abused the trust which had been placed in him.

“He was known to the victims as the local postman and known to the children as the husband of a teacher at their school so in my submission, this was a breach of trust,” argued Mrs Kitson.

She further submitted that rather than being totally opportunistic, given the circumstances of the abuse committed over an extended period, “there clearly was a degree of planning or premeditation.”

As regards mitigation points, such as remorse, the lawyer told the court “that’s not present here,” revealing that Hill has already lodged an appeal against his conviction “and sentence even before he has been sentenced.”

Defence QC Peter Irvine conceded “there is no doubt that a custodial sentence is appropriate in these circumstances,” submitting that due to Hill’s ill health “undoubtedly he will endure a hardship” serving a jail sentence.

Hill was due to be sentenced four months ago but that was delayed due to a scheduled prostrate biopsy and it has since been confirmed the paedophile has cancer.

Giving evidence to the court, head of prisoner development at Maghaberry prison Andrew Tosh, testified that with daily radiotherapy sessions set to begin next month, “we will get him to whatever appointments that he needs to get to - to not do it would put us in an indefensible position.”

Jailing Hill, Judge Sherard said he was having “significant regard” to his ill health but was satisfied that the “prison state is capable of accommodating your medical needs.”

Describing indecent assault as “an abhorrent behaviour,” the judge said the maximum ten year sentence “demonstrates the attitude of Parliament, society and the courts” towards such offences.

He told the court that while he had read and taken account of the victim impact reports, he would not reveal their details in open court but declared it was “to their credit that these young women have not been overwhelmed by the abuse” perpetrated upon them.

As well as the jail term, Judge Sherard ordered Hill to sign the police sex offenders register for the rest of his life and also imposed a five year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph