A former treasurer of Crossmaglen Rangers GAA club on Thursday pleaded guilty to a litany of sex crimes against young boys, dating back over three decades.
Ex-postman Thomas McKenna (62), formerly of Woodside Park, Bessbrook, Co Armagh, was due to go on trial next week on the first of three sets of charges he faced.
At Belfast Crown Court on Thursday, defence counsel Kevin Magill asked for McKenna to be re-arraigned on three separate charge sheets, which totalled 148 sexual offences.
McKenna, who was produced to the court from Maghaberry Prison, pleaded guilty to a catalogue of offences which including indecent assaults, sexual assaults and gross indecency on young males on dates between 1989 and 2018.
In June 2021, McKenna pleaded guilty to 18 counts of voyeurism, four indecent assaults and one count of taking an indecent image of a child. The former postman was placed on the sex offenders register as a result of the guilty pleas.
Following his guilty pleas today on Thursday, Belfast Recorder Judge Patricia Smyth said McKenna would be ‘severely punished’ for his crimes.
“I am aware that some of those affected may be on the [video] link. To those affected may I say this: I praise your courage in coming forward to disclose these terrible crimes in very, very difficult circumstances.”
“Each of you have done a great public service in coming forward and I want to thank you for that,’’ Judge Smyth. said.
Counsel Charles MacCreanor KC said the prosecution would not be proceeding with a number of matters which had recently come to light, and the defendant had signed a document that these matters would now be “taken into consideration’' along with his guilty pleas.
Defence counsel Greg Berry KC asked for a pre-sentence report to be prepared on McKenna by the Probations Service NI ahead of sentencing. He added that he would also be seeking a medical report to be completed on McKenna which he said “related to a number of issues’'.
The case will be reviewed on Monday, 7th November.