Ex-Celtic youth coach jailed after admitting sexual assaults on boy

Belfast Crown Court.
Belfast Crown Court.

Former Celtic football youth coach and Hibs kitman Jim McCafferty, 72, has been sentenced to three years and nine months in prison at Belfast Crown Court after pleading guilty in May to eight counts of sexual assault.

McCafferty, formerly of Raby Street in Belfast, will serve half the sentence in custody and the remaining half on licence.

He initially pleaded not guilty to a series of sexual offences against the same boy over a three-year period before December 2015 but changed his plea to guilty on the morning of his trial in May 2018.

McCafferty lived in Glasgow before moving to Northern Ireland in recent years.

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Judge Patricia Smyth told McCafferty that what he had considered “a bit of fun” had had a significant impact on his victim.

The offences took place over a three-year period from December 2012 to December 2015 when McCafferty was aged from 66 to 68 and his victim was aged between 14 and 16.

Judge Smyth said: “You abused trust placed in you by his family ... assaulting him in your home and his home. The impact on your victim and his family has been significant.

“There are other factors in the victim’s life that had rendered him vulnerable.”

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Judge Smyth also told the court that McCafferty had only apologised to his victim because he had been advised to and said he continued to regard his behaviour as having been “a bit of fun for the victim”.

McCafferty will remain on the sexual offenders register for an “indefinite period” and has been banned from working with children in any capacity.