Daniel Curran: Paedophile former priest who breached court order avoids jail

A former priest who abused young vulnerable boys dating back almost 20 years has been handed a suspended sentence after he breached a court order.

Imposing a three-month jail sentence on disgraced priest Daniel Gerard Curran but suspending it for three years, District Judge Steven Keown said the pre-sentence probation report illustrated a “depressing lack of insight and minimisation of his behaviour.”

He warned the 72-year-old if he breached his Sexual Offences Prevention Order again in that time “you will be facing custody.”

Curran, from Bryansford Avenue in Newcastle, had earlier entered a guilty plea to breaching his lifelong SOPO on August 12 this year in that without reasonable excuse or permission from his designated risk manager, he “remained or loitered at Tullymore National Activity Centre which by its nature is likely to attract or be frequented by children.”

Daniel Curran appears at court on a previous occasion. Picture: Pacemaker
Daniel Curran appears at court on a previous occasion. Picture: Pacemaker
Daniel Curran appears at court on a previous occasion. Picture: Pacemaker

A prosecuting lawyer told Downpatrick Magistrates Court on Thursday (December 29) how Curran had walked into the activity centre “with a box of books for dissemination” but staff who recognised him as the notorious child abuser he is, leafed through the books and realised they were “filled with sex references” and reported the matter to the police.

The books had been written by a Nicholas Russell which is the pseudonym Curran has used before to write a number of books.

Arrested and interviewed, Curran admitted being at the centre and leaving the box of his books there.

Defence counsel Noel Dillon revealed that Curran had left books there before “five or six years ago” without complaint so was simply doing that again.

"There is no claim that he was in direct proximity to any children,” said the barrister, adding that Curran “had it in his mind the centre was more adult orientated. It’s been pointed out to him that children do attend there and he has resolved never to drop books there again,” said Mr Dillon.

Submitting that Curran is entitled to credit for his early guilty plea, the lawyer said there was only one previous SOPO breach even though the pervert pensioner has been under supervision since 2009.

Sentencing Curran, District Judge Steven Keown said he was satisfied the breach “crossed the custody threshold” but given the plea, he would suspend the jail sentence.

The last time Curran was at court four years ago, he was handed a 200-hour community service order for sexually abusing a boy more than 20 years ago.

Sentencing Curran in September 2018, Judge Piers Grant warned him however that if any further offences came to light, the CSO was no indication “that you will not receive a custodial sentence” for them.

Judge Grant told the disgraced former priest, who was then facing sex abuse charges for the sixth time, his offending was a “gross breach of position and trust.”