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Disgust of victim of paedophile teacher as abuser walks free

A victim of a self-confessed paedophile teacher from Tassagh has hit out after his abuser walked free from court last week.

Daniel Patrick Eccles, of Granemore Road in Tassagh, had previously been jailed almost 15 years ago.

But in March, the 68-year-old admitted 15 further charges of abusing boys at a west Belfast school, charges similar to those for which he had previously been jailed.

He had been sentenced in August 2000 to six years in prison when he pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of 12 boys in the mid-1970s.

The defendant – who taught at the school between 1967 and 1986 – then admitted a further 15 charges against two boys.

Belfast Crown Court heard in March that Eccles pleaded guilty to a total of 13 counts of indecent assault against the boys, and a further two charges of gross indecency against one of his young victims.

The offences admitted by defendant dated between April 1976 and July of the following year.

The charges for which Eccles had previously been jailed 15 years ago dated to 1975 and 1976.

When he appeared in court last Tuesday, Belfast Crown Court Judge Gordon Kerr QC said there was not any evidence of additional harm having been caused to the two young victims.

On that basis, he suspended a two-and-a-half year prison sentence for a period of two years.

One of the paedophile’s victims said he had felt sick to the stomach after he saw the face of Eccles, whom he believed was dead, on the internet.

And he expressed his disgust at the sentence.

He told the Belfast Telegraph newspaper: “He got away with what he did to me and other people. He has been freed again to keep living his life while we will never be free from what he did – it just never, ever goes away.

“People talk about forgiveness but I will never be able to forgive him. If I ever had the chance to speak to him I would ask him why he did this on innocent young children.

“He took our childhood and our innocence.”

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