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Children’s author from Co Wexford appears in UK court charged with child sex offences

Patrick Dorian Cowland, also known as Patrick Joseph Cormack (72) was wanted in the UK for alleged historic sexual assaults on two boys in Cheltenham

Patrick Dorian Cowland, also known as Patrick Joseph Cormack in 2018

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

A successful children’s author who appeared before Wexford District Court three years ago for allegedly breaching a sex offenders order has been remanded in custody in the UK.

Patrick Dorian Cowland, also known as Patrick Joseph Cormack, 72, was wanted in the UK for alleged historic sexual assaults on two boys in Cheltenham, Gloucester.

Cowland appeared before Gloucester Crown Court on Thursday ten months after an international warrant was issued for his arrest.

He was remanded to HMP Hewell in Redditch, Worcester

Cowland, whose last known address was Ballagh, Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Ireland, is a published author of children’s books and other literary works and has also worked as an accountant.

The court was told at an earlier hearing that he had working as a photographer when he met and befriended one of his two alleged victims in Oxford in the 1970s.

The eight charges against Cowland allege indecent assault and gross indecency offences against two boys - one between 1973 and 1975 in Cheltenham and the other between 1979 and 1982 and other locations in England and Wales.

At his hearing this week Cowland told the judge, Recorder Neil Millard, that when he was arrested he had no relevant documentation with him and no money.

He stated that his previous lawyer in Gloucestershire was unable to undertake legal aid work and therefore he was now legally unrepresented as he could not pay privately.

Recorder Millard told Cowland: “You need to be legally represented because of the charges you face. I understand that your lawyer, who you previous paid for from your own funds, is unable to take on legal aid work.

“I’ll adjourn the case for seven days for you to find legal representation. I understand that the prosecutor today, Mr David Maunder, has offered to contact a local lawyer on your behalf.”

The judge remanded Cowland in custody until the next hearing on April 7, 2022.

In November 2018 Cowland appeared before a sitting of Wexford District Court charged with contravening a sex offender order, which was put in place by the circuit court on July 17.

His house was initially searched the previous month as part of a “routine inspection” before he was charged and brought to court.

Gardai had objected to bail, saying the defendant was a flight risk as he had recently acquired a new Irish passport and had also been in contact with the Indian embassy about obtaining a passport.

The court was told that on October 13, as part of a routine inspection at Mr Cowland’s home, two computer devices were examined.

A programme was allegedly discovered on the computer which “updates every 24 hours and hides the previous day’s internet search”.

On November 1, a warrant was obtained for the two computers to be seized.

A later search of the computer by a specialist garda found that a Facebook profile with the name Paddy Fitzgerald was being used to search the names of “injured parties” related to a previous case Mr Cowland was involved in, the court heard.

This Facebook account had been active since September, according to gardai.

Gardai told the court that the defendant had previously received a 16-month prison term at Warwick Crown Court in the UK for distributing indecent images of children.

The garda said the computer search history showed that Mr Cowland had also enquired about properties in France, where he had previously lived.

Defence counsel for Mr Cowland argued that his client had no history of breaching bail conditions, and that he was offering to “put up a substantial” amount of money as a bond.

After the judge queried how much was meant by substantial, the court heard that Mr Cowland was offering “€5,000, and more if required”.

Judge Gerard Naughton had refused bail on the grounds that the defendant had inquired about an Indian passport, that he has a new Irish passport and that he was searching for property in France having previously resided there.

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