Jail for child porn Methodist minister

William Alan Macaulay at Antrim Crown Court.
William Alan Macaulay at Antrim Crown Court.
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A disgraced Methodist minister, who was a chaplain at Magilligan Prison, has been sent to jail himself for six months on child pornography charges.

William Alan Macaulay (52), who was also a youth coach for one of Ballymoney Ladies hockey club, pleaded guilty to a total of 14 charges between September and November, 2010.

Macaulay from Ballynacree Drive, Balnamore near Coleraine sat with his head bowed at Antrim Crown Court on Friday as a prosecution lawyer said the accused had 78 indecent pictures and one video on a computer and an external hard drive of children, some as young as five-years-old.

Prosecutor Neil Connor said the accused came to the attention of police after the mother of a teenage girl complained of inappropriate behaviour on an internet chat room.

After Macaulay’s computer equipment was seized, the pornographic images of the children were found including 21 in the most serious categories of abuse.

Macaulay told police he had deleted all the images after viewing them, although he also admitted swapping images with other people with similar sexual interests on chat rooms but police accepted he had not been involved in any commercial distribution of the indecent pictures.

Defence lawyer, Francis Rafferty, said Macaulay had started looking at regular legal pornography online but it wasn’t enough for him and he started a downward spiral into illegal material which he now accepted was morally wrong.

He said the defendant felt shame and regret over something which had become a compulsion and he said he had co-operated fully with police.

The court was told that Macaulay had resigned from the Methodist church and from his post as a hockey coach.

Judge Corinne Philpott QC said the Macaulay had not sought to address his problems before coming to court.

She said it was hard to understand how a man who had been involved for so long in trying to help disadvantaged young people shouldn’t recognise the damage his actions would do to vulnerable children.

She said the type of offence which he’d admitted was rising.

Macaulay, who showed no emotion, was also put on the Sex Offenders Register for ten years.

The shamed cleric will serve six months in jail, followed by a further six months on supervised licensed parole.