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Victim indecently assaulted as youngster hits out at predator’s ‘diabolical’ sentence

"I've served 33 years – I might as well say in prison. My friend and that other wee girl, we've all served life sentences. That f****r gets one year in jail."

Paul Milligan
Paul Milligan will spend the next 12 months behind bars

A man who was indecently assaulted as teenage boy by an older male more than 30 years ago has labelled his predator’s 12-month prison sentence “diabolical” and an “absolute disgrace”.

Paul Milligan,of Binnian View Park in Ballymartin was, this week, sentenced at Newry Crown Court for indecently assaulting two males and a female over a five year period between October 1986 and June 1991.

The 49-year-old was sentenced on eight counts of indecent assault and four counts of gross indecency against his three victims. Three counts of buggery, which he denied, were left on the books.

As a result, Milligan was sentenced to one year in prison with a further two years on probation.

Lamenting the sentence, one of his male victims (Thomas – not his real name) – speaking to Armagh I – said: “I’ve served 33 years – I might as well say in prison. My friend and that other wee girl, we’ve all served life sentences. That f****r gets one year in jail.”

“The judge kept talking about staying within the guidelines, which is a load of nonsense,” Thomas continued. “If that was in America he would have been fired in prison for much longer.”

Two of Milligan’s victims personally sat through the trial; one did not due to the torment he has faced ever since. Two of the victims were best friends but neither knew of each other’s past until their predator’s crimes came to pass under police investigation.

“It would have started offering me cigarettes,” said Thomas. “I didn’t smoke at the time, but I started with him. He befriended me; he was a bit older than me. Anything any of the others boys would have said to me, he would have stood up for me.

“Eventually he persuaded me over to his house. Things started off with the kissing and the touching and then it got progressively worse.

“I was disgusted in myself at the time. I was 13-14. I was a bit innocent. I looked up to him as a friend – an older mate. He looked out for me; I didn’t know it at the time but he was grooming me.

“He had done the same thing with my best mate before that but I didn’t realise until two or three years ago, after I had gone to police.”

While it took Thomas almost 30 years to open up, it was literally a life or death decision he had to make. He was living away from home at the time.

“I was drinking heavily. I was going to kill myself; it was either that or come home and do what I did. I came home and contacted the police. If I didn’t, I’d probably be dead now, to be honest.”

Thomas suppressed the memories for a long time but they were having a debilitating impact on his life. His teenage years had been ruined and it continues to impact him.

“When I was 15 I started going to the doctor. I thought I had a brain tumour; I was crippled with anxiety, having headaches all the time. I have been on medication since 15 and have since been diagnosed with bi-polar and PTSD.”

Admittedly, while angry with the leniency of Milligan’s sentence, Thomas feels it will help “put a few things to bed”. He credits the actions of the other two victims, for their bravery in coming forward and helping put the predator behind bars.

“You see it all the time where these people avoid jail and you would think, ‘what’s the point?’, but hopefully this case demonstrates to people that they can come forward and bring their perpetrator down.

“We are a needle in a haystack in terms of cases like this but knowing that he will be eating porridge for the next year, that does help a little.”

Milligan has also been handed a five-year restraining order in respect of his three victims and is on the sex offenders’ register for the next 10 years.

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