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Loyalists hound sex case ex-DUP man from home on pain of death

William Ball

An EX-DUP councillor who is facing historic sex abuse charges was ordered out of his home by the South East Antrim UDA.

Detectives are investigating the threat against William 'Billy' Ball which occurred just days after details of his court appearance appeared in the media.

Several masked men called to the Newtownabbey house the 66-year-old shares with his wife Audrey Ball, who is also a former DUP councillor. He was told to leave the area or risk being attacked by loyalist paramilitaries.

Ex-soldier Ball, who is originally from England, had been self-isolating at his home on Altnacreeve Park in the Rathfern estate when the threats were made.

A PSNI spokeswoman said: "Police received a report that a number of masked men approached a house in the Altnacreeve Park area of Newtownabbey on the evening of April 28 and threatened a male occupant.

"Anyone with any information is encouraged to contact police on 101 or alternatively information can be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

South East Antrim UDA sources said that Billy Ball, an ex-Newtownabbey Borough DUP councillor who was once well-regarded in the area, was told he could be shot dead if he did not leave.

"Billy was told in no uncertain terms that he could be killed.

"What saved him is the fact he has a high profile, and his wife Audrey is a very decent woman who is liked by everyone," explained the loyalist insider.

Ball, who unexpectedly resigned from the DUP and his councillor role in 2018, is accused of indecently assaulting a female on dates between 1978 and 1980.

He faces further charges of exposing himself to the same person and a second woman during the same period. Court papers seen by Sunday Life refer to this alleged crime as "being of a lewd, obscene and disgusting nature".

When Ball's case was mentioned in Belfast Magistrates Court last month, a district judge adjourned it to later in the year because of the coronavirus crisis. He has yet to enter a plea.

When the alleged sex predator quit politics two years ago the DUP paid tribute to him.

The party's group leader in Antrim and Newtownabbey, Philip Brett, said: "As a veteran, Alderman Ball was a champion for our armed forces both inside and outside the council chamber.

"He leaves a legacy of hard work and dedication, of which he can be very proud. I wish to thank him for his service and wish him a very happy retirement."

During his four-year stint as a councillor, Ball is best remembered for leading opposition to a comedy lampooning the Bible being staged at a theatre in Newtownabbey.

His sex abuse charges are the latest scandal to rock DUP associations in neighbouring Newtownabbey and north Belfast.

One of his council colleagues Thomas Hogg, a two-time DUP Mayor of Newtownabbey, left the party and council last year after he was charged with inciting a child who he knew to be aged between 13 and 16 to engage in sexual activity.

In March north Belfast councillor Guy Spence quit the DUP and the City Hall after losing "all confidence in the party" and accusing elements within of "a blatant attempt to cause me harm".

Belfast Telegraph