A peeping tom convicted after using holes in a cubicle wall to spy on a 14-year-old boy at public toilets in a top north coast seaside resort has been put on Probation for a year and placed on the Sex Offenders Register for five years.
Kenny James McCloy, of Loughanhill Park, Coleraine, was spotted by the shocked child in Portrush who then ran to his mum and dad and police then nabbed the defendant, Coleraine Magistrates Court heard on Monday.
The pervert had contested a charge of voyeurism and, later at a police station, even tried to claim he believed it was him who was being spied upon.
At the same court in June, McCloy was convicted of a charge of observing, for the purpose of sexual gratification, the boy doing a private act.
The court heard the child, who was a total stranger to McCloy, spotted eyes looking at him through holes in the cubicle.
McCloy had denied the charge and claimed he had been to a cemetery and had rushed to the public toilets because of irritable bowel syndrome.
The court heard the incident occurred in a toilet block at East Strand car park on October 5, 2016.
The boy, who gave evidence via video link, said he’d been in Portrush with his family when he went to use the toilet.
He’d been sitting in the cubicle for three minutes when he noticed two holes in the wall around the size of a ten pence piece at about waist height.
The boy told the June court: “I noticed someone was looking through. I saw an eye. I felt scared, shocked…just frightened really.
“I was in disbelief. I looked down and he moved and I could see he was wearing a red top and glasses. I got out as quickly as I could and went to my mum.”
The child denied the defendant’s counter-claim, saying: “I was not staring through the hole.”
A PSNI officer told the court last month McCloy said he’d been visiting a family grave in Ballywillan Cemetery when he took stomach cramps.
And, although his home was only eight minutes from the graveyard, McCloy claimed he made his way to the closest public toilet.
McCloy told the court he suffered from irritable bowel syndrome and required a toilet quickly.
He said he habitually carried toilet paper in his pockets in anticipation of the type of situation he faced on the day in question.
Last month’s court heard McCloy had told the PSNI at the scene he sometimes went there to meet people.
McCloy told the court: “When the police came in it was very frustrating and I just came out with something I shouldn’t have.
He added: “I have never had sex with men or relationships with men in my life.”
McCloy was back in court for sentencing on Monday and a prosecutor said after spotting McCloy the boy had immediately bolted and “raised the alarm” with a member of the public and then his parents.
Police were called and no one had left the toilets before officers arrived and they then found McCloy with toilet roll paper in his pockets and they seized a mobile phone from McCloy and a pair of binoculars from his vehicle.
A search of his home “proved negative”.
The prosecutor said McCloy had told police he had been “spied on” in the toilet and had stayed in the cubicle to make sure the other male had left and said he spent the time reading over old messages on his mobile phone.
Defence barrister Francis Rafferty said it was a “most unfortunate affair” and the defendant “maintains his innocence”.
He said McCloy had no previous convictions and had a good education and work record but was “something of a lonely character”.
Despite saying he was innocent, Mr Rafferty said McCloy “regrets the circumstances” which led to court.
The lawyer said McCloy was assessed by the Probation authorities as being of a low likelihood of reoffending and had taken steps to ensure he would not find himself in a similar situation again.
Mr Rafferty said that overall it “would benefit society” if the defendant had assistance from Probation.
Deputy District Judge Austin Kennedy told McCloy it was “quite sad that it has come to this”.
The judge said the facts were clearly made out and he was guilty of the offence.
He said there was no previous record; the defendant was assessed as a “low risk of re-offending” and he had no access to children.
Putting McCloy on Probation for a year with a condition that he takes part in any programme “designed to reduce any risk you may present,” the judge said he would also be placed on the Sex Offenders Register for a period of five years.