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Former Music Teacher Spared Immediate Custody for Sexual Contact with Child

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A former music teacher, known for performing in front of Pope Benedict XVI in Rome, has avoided immediate custody for engaging in sexual contact with a child. Nigel McClintock, aged 51, residing in Albert Road, Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, was today sentenced to a three-year probation order by Judge Gordon Kerr KC. This decision was made in light of McClintock’s struggles with alcohol abuse, which were identified as contributing factors to his offense.

McClintock had previously pleaded guilty to a single count of sexual communication with a child who had learning difficulties. Belfast Crown Court heard that between April 24 and May 1, 2022, McClintock exchanged messages with a male teenager under the age of 16. The prosecution revealed that these messages included invitations for the victim to visit McClintock’s residence for “hugs and cuddles,” with obscene replies sent when the victim declined.

The court was informed that the victim’s mother reported the Facebook messages to the police on May 7, 2022. Subsequently, McClintock was arrested, claiming no recollection of the conversations initially but later attributing them to his alcohol consumption.

During police interviews, McClintock admitted being gay but denied being attracted to young boys, blaming his actions on alcohol. He expressed humiliation and embarrassment upon hearing the messages read aloud in court.

Prosecution lawyer Kate McKay emphasized the vulnerability of the victim, his age, and learning difficulties as aggravating factors in the case. However, Judge Kerr acknowledged McClintock’s lack of previous convictions, good character, and remorse.

The court heard testimonials portraying McClintock as a dedicated musician who had positively impacted many young people. However, recent reports highlighted his alcohol dependency and resulting health deterioration.

Judge Kerr, considering the overall circumstances, opted against immediate custody, citing McClintock’s need for rehabilitation and assistance. Instead, he imposed a three-year probation order and a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for five years, alongside registration on the sex offenders’ list.

McClintock’s consent to the probation order was accompanied by a warning from the judge regarding compliance. Failure to adhere to the terms would result in a custodial sentence.

McClintock, a former chorister and music director at St Peter’s Cathedral in west Belfast, featured in a BBC documentary in 2010. He stepped down from his position before the offense occurred in 2022.

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