Northern Ireland

Seven years for rapist councillor William Wilkinson

William Wilkinson intends to appeal
Image caption William Wilkinson intends to appeal

A Ballymena councillor who raped a woman in her home has been jailed for seven years.

William Wilkinson, 33, of Tully Road in Portglenone, was sentenced at Antrim Crown Court on Wednesday.

He was convicted of rape and attempted rape at a trial in May. The jury heard how he had been drinking before he went to the woman's home in August 2008.

His victim was described as "vulnerable" and someone who had been in an abusive relationship.

A United Unionist Coalition councillor, Wilkinson originally held a council seat for the DUP but left the party three years ago.


He had claimed the woman consented to sex but made a 999 call after falling out with him because of his drinking.

However, the court heard Wilkinson had more than 20 injuries to his face and body which were consistent with scratch marks caused by someone's nails.

The jury agreed that rather than these injuries being inflicted during a drunken row, the woman was fighting him away in self defence.

Judge Geoffrey Millar banned Wilkinson from having any contact with the victim and prohibited him from entering any intimate relationships without disclosing his convictions.

He also ordered Wilkinson to sign the police sex offenders register for the rest of his life and told Wilkinson his convictions had led to his "professional and personal life lying in tatters".

Prosecuting barrister Richard Weir said that in her victim-impact report, the woman said she was still experiencing difficulties caused by the attack.

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