DUP welcomed sex abuser Brian Hutchinson back to party

A self-confessed sex abuser has been secretly allowed back into Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) — in the latest scandal to rock the party.

Fruit farmer Brian Hutchinson, 42, was voted in as party treasurer in Armagh even though he assaulted a 15-year-old girl for more than a year.



The married dad of five sensationally quit the DUP in 2002 after his litany of abuse was exposed.



But the Sunday Life newspaper can today reveal that he is back in the organisation in a high-profile position controlling party cash.



A DUP spokesman admitted yesterday: “The Party acted on this matter in 2002.



“Mr Hutchinson withdrew from the party and his council position.



“In 2008 he rejoined the party and is the current treasurer of our Armagh branch.



“The Party will be making no further comment on this matter.”



Confirmation that Hutchinson has rejoined party ranks will be yet another blow to the DUP — still reeling over the Iris Robinson cash and sex scandal.



The revelation also comes as embattled Sinn Fein chief Gerry Adams is under fire for his handling of child abuse allegations facing his younger brother Liam.



Garden centre manager Hutchinson told us yesterday: “I’m just trying to put all that behind me and get on with party work.”



Hutchinson — whose late father Dougie helped found the DUP and was once Ian Paisley’s right-hand man — was booted out of the party in September 2002 after his teen assaults came to light.



He received a police caution for indecent assault — which involves admitting your guilt — and was put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years.



Hutchinson was voted in as DUP treasurer of the Armagh branch just one year after his name came off the list.



The party and Hutchinson have insisted he was not in the party in an official role until after his name was removed from the Sex Offenders’ Register.



But yesterday Hutchinson admitted he was invited to DUP bashes in Armagh before he was taken off.



He confessed: “I was at dinners at the area and DUP events from 2002 to 2008.”



Hutchinson, from Woodview, Co Armagh, pleaded that the matter be laid to rest so he could get on with his life.



He said: “I’ve paid for it and came clean in 2002. That’s all I want to say on my feelings about what happened back then.



“It had a big effect on me and my family and forced me to do some big thinking.



“But I had, and still have, my wife’s full support.



“Local people know what happened and I just want to get on with things now.”



Hutchinson’s loyal wife, Shirley, went the extra mile to stand by her man when her husband’s abuse of an under-age girl was exposed.



In a letter to a local paper she said her husband was “not the first man to be tempted and fall”.



She added: “I have to say what Brian did was wrong. I have no argument with that, but when he was found out he didn’t lie, he didn’t deny it or cover it up.



“He confessed everything and acted honourably.



“He told me himself and was very remorseful and repentant, and I have forgiven him totally.”



Hutchinson was first suspended from the DUP in July 2001 and in 2002 quit his council seat and the party.



He said at the time: “I have decided it is best to resign for the sake of the DUP.”



The disgraced unionist said in 2002 that “no sex took place”.



But it emerged he’d been groping his 15-year-old prey for more than a year before he was rumbled.



His systematic abuse only came to light when the under-age girl finally plucked up the strength to tell her mum.



After she exposed Hutchinson, he was back behind the counter of his large nursery business in Co Armagh, which he still runs.



He had held his seat on Armagh council for nine years before he resigned.



Hutchinson succeeded his late dad when he retired from the council in 1993, after 40 years in local government.



His veteran politician father served time in Crumlin Road jail for his part in the notorious Siege of Armagh — when civil rights protestors were blocked from marching through the city centre.



Hutchinson spoke to us yesterday at his nursery, and said he did not want to comment on whether he thought it was suitable that he was back in the party.



He said he was voted back into the DUP in 2008 at the party’s Armagh annual general meeting.



Hutchinson added: “My nomination was put forward by someone, and someone else seconded it.”



When asked for the identities of the politicians who nominated him, he said: “I don’t remember who they are.”



We rang councillor Freda Donnelly to comment on his re-appointment — as she’s a DUP councillor in the Armagh City branch.



She slammed down her phone after snapping: “I have no comment to make.”

Source: The Belfast Telegraph

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Content and PR

£35000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Mid / Senior

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing digital agenc...

Recruitment Genius: E-commerce Partnerships Manager

£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a newly-created partne...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor