A firebrand preacher who was a good friend of Rev Ian Paisley has been linked to the abuse of children at Kincora.
Pastor Willie Mullan took his own life in December 1980, less than a year after police started an investigation into the paedophile ring operating at the east Belfast care home for boys.
Sources say the 79-year-old, who was also struggling to come to terms with the death of his wife, shot himself with his legally held weapon after learning he could be arrested.
Mullan, who was never charged, had close links to William McGrath — the sinister Orange Order leader who used his role as housemaster at Kincora to sexually assault dozens of boys.
He was also friendly with Joss Cardwell, an Ulster Unionist councillor who preyed on kids at the home and who died by suicide in 1983 after being questioned by the RUC.
“There were strong rumours at the time about Willie Mullan’s involvement in Kincora, particularly as he
killed himself not long after the police investigation began,” said a religious source.
“He would have been |friendly with William McGrath and Joss Cardwell, and this added to some people’s belief that he may have been abusing boys there.”
Mullan wrote a book, Tramp After God, about how he found salvation after being homeless for three years.
During this period he |admitted being involved in crime and abusing alcohol.
Preaching in August 1980 — four months before his suicide — Mullan confessed: “The devil takes you through the gutter of sin. There are sins that I’ve committed that if they were written on this wall I wouldn’t come here.”
Ian Paisley spoke at Willie Mullan’s funeral in Newtownards on Boxing Day 1980 telling mourners that “Ulster
needs a race of such preachers”.
Rev Paisley had previously described Pastor Mullan, who used to visit him during his time in Crumlin Road prison, as “a very old friend and dearly beloved brother of Christ”. There is no suggestion Dr Paisley knew anything about claims linking Mullan to Kincora.
Last week Kincora survivor Gary Hoy told Sunday Life that there were many paedophiles who molested boys at the home who escaped prosecution.
He wants the facility to be included in a new UK wide inquiry into sexual abuse of kids.
The demand follows claims of an establishment ‘cover-up’ over allegations of a paedophile ring operating at Westminster.
Gary Hoy’s call has since been echoed by Clint Massey, another Kincora survivor, the charity Amnesty International and all the main political parties.
Only three paedophiles, each of whom are now dead, were convicted of abusing children at the home.
They were housemaster William McGrath, warden Joe Mains, and his deputy Raymond Semple. Others who escaped justice were suicidal politician Joss Cardwell and Red Hand Commando leader John McKeague, who was shot dead by the INLA in 1982.
Now even more names are being linked to the abuse at Kincora, including firebrand preacher Willie Mullan.
From the archives