Belfast Telegraph

School caretaker William Hunter who sent sexual messages to girl (14) avoids jail

By Staff Reporter

A court has heard it was "alarming" that a school caretaker from Co Antrim sent sexual messages to a 14-year-old girl on Facebook.

William Hunter (50) appeared in the dock at Ballymena Magistrates Court for sentencing yesterday after previously pleading guilty to making a sexual communication with a child.

The charge relates to messages sent between July 27 and September 21 last year.

A prosecutor told the court - which heard Hunter had worked at Larne High School - that police were informed that Facebook messages from the defendant were found on a 14-year-old girl's tablet device.

The lawyer said the messages included Hunter, of Inver Heights, Larne, asking the child: "Excuse me, why are you so sexy?" And he also told her to "bend over for a slap, you have a sexy bum".

Defence barrister Stephen Law claimed it was "alcohol-induced madness" and not "predatory" conduct. He said Hunter apologised unreservedly and "will never work alongside children ever again".

Mr Law said the case was "alarming" bearing in mind the position Hunter held.

He said alcohol "could never be an adequate excuse" and that the messages were sent over a "relatively short period of time".

Mr Law added that "having served his country during the Troubles", Hunter had been diagnosed as having post-traumatic stress disorder and had a "breakdown" in 2013. He said the offending had now made the defendant focus on what he needs to do to address his "alcohol dependency".

District Judge Peter King said he wanted the sentence to be "preventative" to stop any reoccurrence and that he took into account a guilty plea and a clear record.

He put Hunter on probation for two years and ordered him to engage with any appropriate assessments, and to also engage with mental health and addictions services.

The judge ordered the defendant to be put on the Sex Offenders' Register for five years.

He also imposed a five-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order with conditions regarding contact with children, working with children and visiting child-centred locations.

There is also a ban on accessing the internet unless Hunter's usage history can be checked.

Hunter is barred from contacting anyone under 18 on the internet, including Facebook, without approval from his designated risk manager.

Belfast Telegraph

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