Belfast Telegraph

Retired college head Lloyd-Lavery acquitted of child abuse charges

Pensioner said offences were 'pack of lies' - jury takes under an hour to come to verdict

William Lloyd-Lavery pictured at Craigavon Crown Court. Picture: Pacemaker.
William Lloyd-Lavery pictured at Craigavon Crown Court. Picture: Pacemaker.

By Paul Higgins

A retired headmaster accused of repeated historic sex abuse against a young boy has been unanimously acquitted of all charges.

The Craigavon Crown Court jury of four men and eight women deliberated for just less than an hour before returning with their 13 unanimous not guilty verdicts.

As the jury forewoman announced the verdicts to each count, William Lloyd-Lavery nodded his approval while his son, sat just a few feet away in the public gallery, wept tears of relief and was comforted by his mum who was beside him.

Thanking the jury for their service, trial Judge Patrick Lynch QC told Lloyd-Lavery he was free to go and leaving the dock, he thanked the judge.

Lloyd-Lavery, was headmaster of Lurgan Technical College between 1992 and 1997. He once claimed to be a direct descendant of a Russian tsar and was a one-time press secretary to a UUP Mayor.

He always denied the offences which included seven counts of indecent assault, four of committing an act of gross indecency with or towards a child, one of inciting a child to engage in an act of gross indecency and one of taking an indecent photograph of a child.

It was claimed the offences took place between 29 December 1980 and 1 February 1988.

The 71-year-old, from Richmond Avenue in Lisburn, gave evidence on his own behalf denying that he had ever done anything against the complainant, labelling the allegations as a “pack of lies” which “did not happen and could not have happened".

It had been the Crown case that when the boy was aged between six and around 13, Lloyd-Lavery touched him inappropriately, invited the boy to touch him and had performed a sex act in his presence. It was also alleged he took a Polaroid of the complainant’s half naked body.

The jury also heard claims that last Monday in the toilets of the courthouse, Lloyd-Lavery and the complainant met inadvertently with the complainant telling them the defendant “looked me in the face and said ‘I’m sorry’,”.

The prosecution claimed this was an apology for the abuse.

The retired principal and teacher told the jury from the witness box, however, that he did not recognise his accuser and had not uttered a single word to him in the toilet.

During his evidence, the specifics of the allegations were put to Lloyd-Lavery and he told defence QC Kieron Mallon: “I certainly did nothing of the kind - I’m quite outraged by it.”

Lloyd-Lavery said the account given by the complainant “is complete lies and nonsense [with] no truth in it whatsoever".

He told the court and jury the claims against him are “ridiculous and a complete lack of lies".

“There’s no truth in it - it didn’t happen hundreds of times, it didn’t happen once,” he declared.

Outside the courthouse as he was leaving, Lloyd-Lavery declined to comment.

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