William Lloyd-Lavery acquitted of historic sex abuse charges

William Lloyd-Lavery was acquitted
William Lloyd-Lavery was acquitted

A retired headmaster accused of repeated historic sex abuse against a young boy was unanimously acquitted of all charges on Friday.

The Craigavon Crown Court jury of four men and eight women deliberated for just less than an hour before returning with their 13 unanimous not guilty verdicts.

As the jury forewoman announced the verdicts to each count, Lloyd-Lavery nodded his approval while his son, sat just a few feet away in the public gallery, wept tears of relief and was comforted by his mum beside him.

Thanking the jury for their service, trial Judge Patrick Lynch QC told Lloyd-Lavery he was free to go and leaving the dock, he thanked the judge.

Lloyd-Lavery, the now retired headmaster of Lurgan Tech, who once claimed to be a direct descendant of a Russian tsar and was a one-time press secretary to a UUP Mayor , has always denied the offences which were seven counts of indecent assault, four of committing an act of gross indecency with or towards a child, one of inciting a child to engage in an act of gross indecency and one of taking an indecent photograph of a child, all alleged to have been committed on dates unknown between 29 December 1980 and 1 February 1988.

The 71-year-old, from Richmond Avenue in Lisburn, gave evidence on his own behalf denying that he had ever done anything against the complainant, labelling the allegations as a “pack of lies” which “did not happen and could not have happened.”

It had been the Crown case that between the ages of six and around 13, Lloyd-Lavery had touched the boy inappropriately, invited the boy to touch his private parts, masturbated himself in the boy’s presence and at one stage, took a Polaroid photo of the complainant’s half naked body.

The jury also heard claims that last Monday in the toilets of the courthouse, Lloyd-Lavery and the complainant has an inadvertent meeting with the complainant telling them the defendant “looked me in the face and said ‘I’m sorry’,” with the prosecution inviting them to infer that was “actually an apology for abusing him.”

The retired principal and teacher told the jury from the witness box however that he did not recognise his accuser and had not uttered a single word to him in the toilet.

During his evidence in chief, the specifics of the allegations were put to Lloyd-Lavery and he told defence QC Kieron Mallon: “I certainly did nothing of the kind - I’m quite outraged by it.”

Lloyd-Lavery told Mr Mallon the account given by the complainant “is complete lies and nonsense [with] no truth in it whatsoever.”

He told the court and jury the claims against him are “ridiculous and a complete lack of lies.”

“There’s no truth in it - it didn’t happen hundreds of times, it didn’t happen once,” he declared.

Outside the courthouse as he was leaving, Lloyd-Lavery declined to comment.