RE: Were police aware that David Sullivan was a serious child molester before he was murdered?

PH: I am limited at what I can say about the investigation into David Sullivan, even if that murder happened today the investigation would not sit with my branch.

RE: What steps did police take to investigate the abuse carried out by David Sullivan?

PH: This is talking about a very specialist murder investigation that I was not involved in so it would really be not appropriate for me….

RE: Aside from the murder of David Sullivan, I am asking you about the abuse that was clearly taking place. I am told in one case that a victim was advised by an officer not to pursue a prosecution. Why would a victim be told not to pursue sex abuse carried out by Sullivan? Does that concern you?

PH: As I am sure you can appreciate, I wasn’t there at the time and cannot make comment about what a particular officer said. What I can say in 2019 we have specialised trained officers who will speak to any of the victims who want to speak to us. Part of my message in speaking to the community is I am going to revisit the cases that have been reported in The Impartial Reporter in recent weeks.

RE: But do you understand that the confidence of some victims has been knocked – such as the victim who was told by police ‘don’t bother’ pursuing your case. Can you understand how these victims feel even in 2019?

A: I can understand how difficult it is for a victim of sexual abuse at any stage to report. That’s why it is important for the public protection branch to exist. It is a very traumatic time for anyone to speak of their abuse. 
But I want to give those victims, those victims’ families, your readers the reassurance of how seriously we will treat this. We will go back with any new or existing report to work with the victims. 

RE: We know David Sullivan went on to abuse again, long after this particular case. Do you think police could have stopped that man from abusing again and then this schoolboy may not have been abused?

PH: We can never say for definitive what could or could not have happened. We will ensure a thorough investigation and we will revisit and relook and go through what reports came in at that time. We will do that. If there is any learning as an organisation we will be open to that. I need to see what we knew and what we did. 

RE: To be clear – you would be willing to review the sex abuse carried out by David Sullivan?

PH: If victims are willing to come forward we will listen to what they say and revisit that. RE: Do you accept that victims feel they have been failed by police in respect of David Sullivan and the lack of any kind of prosecution at that time?

PH: Look, again, I need to look at what did happen. In some of the cases, not just this one, where investigations were carried out it is for the Public Prosecution Service to decide. I can understand for victims who have come forward and if they feel let down or disappointed but again we need to look at the evidence, what was the nature of the investigation. 

RE: Some believe this is a cover up or simply police incompetence... 

PH: What I can say is his murder was investigated and reviewed. I will speak to those victims.

RE: There are a lot of allegations linking David Sullivan to a suspected paedophile ring in Enniskillen. Were these claims properly investigated? 

PH: I cannot comment about the extent of that investigation. I couldn’t go into any further detail on that. 

RE: One man has claimed he was abused by five men in a paedophile ring Enniskillen. He reported it to police and it was later dropped. I have since learned that one of these men went on to abuse another schoolboy. The alleged abuser is still alive. Will you pursue this case?

PH: If the victim wishes to speak to us again we will revisit that case and look at what we did. You are saying there are other victims that we weren’t aware of so we will look at that again. I am giving you that assurance that detectives will revisit that and speak to existing witnesses or any new witnesses. We will see where that evidence will take us, we will gather all evidence. 

RE: Another case centres around a woman and her son who were both abused by the same man. We now know there are other victims. The alleged abuser is still alive. Will you pursue this case?

PH: We will speak to all victims at a time and a place that best meets their needs. We will gather and collate that information. We want to establish if there are any linkages. 

RE: Two victims were in touch this week to allege that they were abused by the same man. They spoke to me separately; they don’t know each other. The first victim was 13 when he was first abused by this man. Will you pursue this?

PH: I can only imagine the hurt that victims feel. If he wishes to speak to us we will go through what he has to tell us, we will support him in a proper way in terms of looking at the investigation. It’s difficult to comment on exactly what happened. In terms of what we would do today that is certainly something that we would not be doing. I would welcome the opportunity to speak to that victim to see how we can help. 

RE: That victim and his family were told by police that they would keep the alleged abuser’s name on file in case he abused again. We now know that he did. A second victim has told us his story. This man could have been stopped from abusing again if police had acted previously. Will police now take action?

PH: Of course we will take action. We will look at all those cases that you are bringing forward to us. We will look at that in the context of timelines to see who knew what and where and when. That will form part of an investigation to review and revisit these cases. What I would say to these two victims, we have had cases where people reported it sometime ago and perhaps it didn’t go to court but actually there have been some cases reported very recently where convictions have happened for historical child sexual abuse where detectives in public protection branch revisited and we had somebody prosecuted very quickly. 
We did get a prosecution from looking back at what we knew and new information coming to light. We will do the same again, we will sit with each of the victims. 

RE: What are the chances of these alleged abusers being put before the courts and put behind bars?

PH: You are telling us about a number of other victims we were not aware of, we will look at how we can bring that together to see where it will take us. Those will be thoroughly investigated today.

RE: Some victims are happy to talk to you, but they don’t want to walk into a police station. What should they do?

PH: We will meet them at a place and a time that best serves their needs. At the moment if they phone 101 and refer to historical sex abuse in Fermanagh the report is taken by specially trained staff. They only have to give their name and number and one of our detectives will get back to them. Our detectives work in plain clothes, we do not need to meet victims at police stations,.

RE: How much of a priority are you going to give to historical child sex abuse cases in Fermanagh?

PH: Our team covering Fermanagh will look at this but I, along with my deputy, will personally look at the resource that I need to put to this to revisit and carry out investigations. I need to look at the new reports you are telling me and will be keeping it under review. Since we became aware of the reports in The Impartial Reporter this has become a priority for us. We will investigate these cases and we will listen.

Nexus NI offers counselling and support.  For further information visit or to make an appointment contact the Enniskillen office on 028 66 32 0046.

If you feel strong enough to share your story or information about sex abuse in Fermanagh e-mail or phone 028 66 32 44 22. Do you have information relating to the litany of abuse carried out by men or women in Fermanagh? All conversations or correspondence will be treated in the strictest of confidence.