Victims’ disgust as paedophile winks after being sent to prison

Colin Finnegan.
Colin Finnegan.

One of paedophile Colin Finnegan victims told how he was disgusted when his abuser winked at him as he was led from the dock at Belfast Crown Court.

Finnegan, 44, with an address at Sloan Hill Mews in Lurgan, was found guilty in October of 59 sex offences linked to the abuse of five children over a 15 year period.

He was sentenced at Belfast Crown Court last Wednesday to 11 years jail. His sentence is subject to an automatic 50% remission.

The judge Gordon Kerr QC told Finnegan, it was “chilling to note you still maintain your denials and consider yourself the victim”.

The Belfast Crown Court judge said that this “stance has exacerbated the damage” caused to his four known victims, and it can only be hoped that “the jury verdicts go some way to helping them recover”.

Last month, following a third trial, Finnegan was found guilty of 59 charges, at the end of a 12-day trial.

Two other trials in Newry had to be aborted earlier this year for legal reasons.

One of the victims spoke exclusively to the Mail said Finnegan had not only sexually violated him as a child but claimed he had also stalked him as an adult. He said Finnegan had followed him into two different employment workplaces, making the victim feeling so intimidated he had to leave his job.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said he nearly gave up after the second trial but praised the investigating police officer for pressing on with a third trial and giving him and the others the strength to continue.

The first charges against Finnegan date back to January 1982 when he was 12 and the last when he was 28 - 16 years of sexual abuse against his victims.

The judge told Finnegan he had “repeatedly used them for your own sexual gratification. You started when you were a child yourself, but continued into your mid-twenties.

“You corrupted these four men when they were young and in each case robbed them of their innocence and childhood. You contested the charges and accused them of a conspiracy in colluding to give evidence against you,” he said, adding that his sentences for abusing them while he was a youngster himself, would be concurrent to each other, but made to run consecutive to those for his adult offending.

The judge said that each of victims gave similar accounts, of first being “befriended by the defendant who was known to them as an older youth” connected to Bessbrook scout hall.

“We had to go through every detail of what happened to us in three trials and also three cross examinations which was very difficult and traumatic,” said the victim.