December 2019

Belfast man sentenced for child sex offences

A former university lecturer has been given a six-year sentence after pleading guilty to attempting to meet a 12-year-old girl for sexual purposes.

Patrick McWilliams, 56, formerly of Oldpark Road in Belfast, also admitted inciting sexual activity with a child and possessing child abuse images.

The National Crime Agency had gathered evidence over three months in 2018.

An officer working as a decoy engaged with McWilliams when he joined a chat forum on an adult website.

During conversations with the officer he suggested they abuse her daughter together in England.

McWilliams then went on to correspond with an officer whom he believed was the woman’s 12-year-old daughter.

During these online conversations McWilliams exposed himself while committing a sexual act to someone he thought was 12 years old.

He also suggested they should meet up when he was in England.

McWilliams later changed his mind and cancelled the meeting.

He will serve three years in custody and three on licence after his release from prison and will be on the sex offenders register for the remainder of his life