Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

Top Belfast estate agent 'tried to meet boy for sex'

Keith Mitchell
Keith Mitchell

By Christopher Woodhouse

A former partner in one of Northern Ireland’s most prestigious estate agencies has been charged with trying to pay a boy for sex, Sunday Life can reveal.

Keith Mitchell is also accused of twice performing a sex act on himself at a public car park in a town on the north coast.

The 51-year-old was a partner and director of Templeton Robinson, which bills itself as the “leading residential estate agency practice in the province”.

According to court documents, Mitchell is alleged to have on a date unknown between June 17 and June 20, 2016, attempted to obtain sexual services of a male aged under 18 and promised payment to him.

Mitchell also faces a charge of attempting to pay for sexual services from the same boy.

He is also charged with two counts of outraging public decency by allegedly touching his genitals in the Main Street car park in Bushmills between the same dates.

At Coleraine Magistrates Court on Friday, the case was adjourned by Deputy District Judge O’Hare until December 20 for a preliminary enquiry hearing.

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When our reporter called to Mitchell’s home last week, a woman told him to leave.

Mitchell, of Old Coach Avenue in south Belfast, resigned as a director of Templeton Robinson on December 31, 2017.

According to Companies House documents, he was also a person with significant control — owning between 25 and 30% of the shares — until the same date.

When contacted by Sunday Life, a spokesperson for the firm said it “had no knowledge of any allegations against Mr Mitchell who had retired from the business several years ago”.

Mitchell was a high-profile member of the prestigious firm, writing pieces for their website and appearing in the media.

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph in 2016, he recalled how he got his first step on the property career ladder.

“I started from school as a ‘gopher’ in a multi-practice commercial and residential firm in the city centre in 1984 and was then headhunted at age 20 to be a branch manager of a new start-up office on the Ormeau Road,” he said.

“I did the same again in south Belfast and for a third time six years later in 1994.”

When asked if he always wanted to be an estate agent, he said no, explaining that as a kid he wanted to “explore the world and be a continental lorry driver”.

When asked what are the main skills his job required, he answered: “A degree in psychology or life counselling would really help! Other than that, it’s really the motivation to understand the needs of the customer and guide them through a process which can be a daunting one.”

Asked to describe his ideal day off, Mitchell replied: “Spending time with my wife and kids and no phone.”

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