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Omagh pensioner admits molesting young boys

Frank Mitchell who admitted a catalogue of sexual offences against young boys.

AN OMAGH pensioner has admitted that he molested young boys in his home over a timescale of 30 years.

Frank Mitchell (75) of Dunbreen Close, had previously denied the charges and two cases in the Crown Court, where his victims gave evidence, collapsed before they were completed.

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On Monday as another jury was about to be sworn in at Dungannon Crown Court, defence barrister Jim Gallagher QC asked for his client to be re-arraigned.

Standing in the dock dressed in jeans and a grey fleece, Mitchell in a very low voice, pleaded guilty to each of the 13 charges, comprising of 11 counts of indecent assault and two of gross indecency.

Several of his victims – of which there are five in total – sat quietly in the public gallery, accompanied by police liaison officers, whilst the guilty pleas were submitted.

Offences occurred against one victim in 1986, followed by a second victim between May and October 1987. The third victim was abused between 1987 and 1988, whilst the fourth relates to dates between 2000 and 2002.

Finally, the most recent offences occurred against a fifth victim from November 2004 until December 2007.
His Honour Judge Stephen Fowler QC asked for  pre-sentence reports to be prepared.

Prosecution barrister Margaret-Ann Dinsmore QC advised the court that victim impact statements would be sought.

Mr Gallagher said he wanted to obtain medical reports in respect of his client’s ill health, and asked for bail to continue.

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Judge Fowler agreed and remanded Mitchell on his existing bail terms.

He warned the pensioner, “The fact I am granting bail should not be seen as how I will deal with this at sentencing.”

Mitchell was ordered to reside at his current address and no other and is prohibited from coming within 50 metres of any school or building with child-centred facilities.

He must put clergy on notice of his attendance at any place of worship or church-related activities, and is not to be accompanied by any person under 18 years of age, save for accidental contact and with the approval of Social Services.

Reporting restrictions were previously imposed to avoid risk of prejudice to the administration of justice.

However as guilty pleas have now been entered, the press successfully challenged the necessity of the reporting restrictions, which the judge ordered to be removed.

Mitchell will be sentenced at Dungannon Crown Court on September 4.

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