Former mayor handed suspended jail term over historic sex assaults

John Beirne pictured campaigning during his time as a local councillor
John Beirne pictured campaigning during his time as a local councillor

A former mayor of St Helens has been handed a suspended jail term for a series of historic sex offences on young boys.

Beirne, 56, admitted eight counts of indecent assault last month.

And he was today (Monday) sentenced to a 16-month suspended jail term.

Beirne, who served as a Liberal Democrat councillor for almost two decades, admitted attacking four boys aged between eight and 12.

The offences took place between May 1975 and February 1980 when Beirne was in his late teens.

He appeared in the dock wearing a grey t-shirt and a blue jacket. He did not speak but instead nodded to confirm his name.

Impact statements told how his victims lives had been damaged by their experiences with Beirne.

In mitigation, the court was told Beirne’s young life was made a misery by bullies who taunted him because of his sexuality.

However, Judge Robert Warnock said the offences were “predatory, pre-planned and persistent”.

Beirne’s years of public service and his age when the offences were committed were taken into account by the judge.

He was also asked to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years, was given a two-year community order, was ordered to attend a sex offenders programme and a 30-day rehabilitation activity.

He will also have to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work in the community and pay costs of £1,500.

The remaining seven charges will “lie on file”, the court heard.