Scout leader found guilty of abuse given jail warning

Colin Finnegan.
Colin Finnegan.
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A former scout leader has been warned he can expect to go to jail for sexually abusing five children over a 15-year period.

Colin Finnegan, 44, formerly of Bessbrook but now residing at Sloan Hill Mews in Lurgan, was found guilty of 59 sex offences relating to the abuse of five young boys between 1982 and 1997. The charges include buggery, indecent assault and gross indecency.

Two other trials were aborted earlier this year for legal reasons.

A jury of seven women and five men at Laganside Magistrates’ Court, delivered the last of their guilty verdicts after six hours of deliberation, over two days.

Finnegan has been put on the Sex Offenders’ Register and remanded in custody while he awaits sentence next month.

The judge told Finnegan he can ‘expect’ jail time.

Finnegan, a former scout leader in Bessbrook, was unanimously convicted of 54 of the charges while in five other cases the jury returned majority guilty verdicts of 11 to one.

The charges related to five victims and began with one unnamed boy in January 1982, who was abused while camping at Gosford, County Down.

The indecent assaults continued for another two years, until the boy was 14.

Four of his other victims gave evidence of being abused by Finnegan in Bessbrook scout hall, his van or other vehicle, in fields, in a caravan behind his then home, and in derelict buildings.

The abuse took place while the boys were aged nine or ten until they were 14 or 15.

Finnegan is scheduled to appear before Laganside Magistrates’ Court for sentencing on Thursday, November 21.