The born-again Christians were good friends and regularly crossed paths at church meetings and bible groups around Counties Antrim and Derry
For we can reveal the born-again Christians-turned-evil were good friends and regularly crossed paths at church meetings and bible groups around Counties Antrim and Derry.
On Friday paedophile pensioner Patterson was jailed for 22 years for a catalogue of sexual abuse committed against 19 children who had been under the care of his child-minding wife.
Coleraine Crown Court was told how Patterson, described by Judge Philip Babington as a "a prolific serial predator", abused kids as young as three and carried out his sick attacks in his hot-tub, his garden shed and on swings.
He was taken away from Coleraine Crown Court in a prison van to HMP Maghaberry Prison to begin his sentence which could see him released in 11 years when he is 80 – but only if with the approval of the parole commissioners.
But he’ll find at least one ‘friend’ in the maximum-security prison near Lisburn – murderer Howell who is also serving five years for sex offences on top of his life sentence for killing his wife and lover’s husband.
“Patterson used to attend some of the same church and bible meetings in the Coleraine area that Colin Howell went to,” said a source.
“They are well known to each other even though Patterson was from another town. The bible-bashing community is very tightknit and they regularly met with Christians from other towns.
“It’s hard to believe they used to be viewed as pillars of the Christian community and now they are banged up together in the same jail as two of the most notorious criminals in Ireland.”
Howell murdered his wife Lesley and his lover Hazel Stewart’s husband, Trevor Buchanan in May 1991, and is a model prisoner who’s popular with guards and fellow inmates alike.
The demon dentist not only confessed his grisly murders, but he also testified against former lover Stewart who is serving 18 years for her part in the double killing.
Howell later admitted to a string of sexual assaults against female clients while they were under sedation and received five and a half years for 12 offences against five women.
Jailhouse sources say he’s likely to offer sex beast Patterson support if he gets the opportunity.
“Howell is a model prisoner and he is seen as a mentor to some of the younger inmates in that he regularly helps them out with advice and support,” said a source.
“It doesn’t matter what they have done so if he gets the chance to meet with Patterson he’ll not turn away from him.
“Howell can hardly turn his back on Patterson just because he is a sex offender because Howell is one himself.”
Having already been convicted of double murder Howell was later found guilty of sexually assaulting a number of women who were in bis dentist’s chair.
Patterson was first exposed in the Sunday World in May 2019 after a huge raft of child sex charges were brought against him.
Patterson was sentenced to 22 years after he was convicted of 84 offences involving 19 children, carried out over a 10-year period.
Although he’s currently languishing in Maghaberry Prison he will very likely apply to be moved to the medium security Magilligan Prison in Co Derry.
As a 69-year-old sex offender Patterson will likely be deemed low risk of causing trouble and will be eligible to serve under the more relaxed regime in Magilligan which is only 15 miles from his hometown Coleraine, making visiting easier for his family.
But initially Patterson will have to run the gauntlet of the understaffed Maghaberry Prison where sex offenders are traditionally given a very rough initiation when they arrive.
“When Patterson enters his cell for the first time he’ll be given the Maghaberry welcome which can be frightening,” said a source.
“He’ll be getting dogs abuse because child sex offenders are viewed as the lowest of the low in the warped prison hierarchy.”
Patterson committed sex acts in front of children through a hole he’d cut in a plank of wood and his fluids were found on the plank after it was forensically examined.
He also tied some of the children up during the abuse and on occasions got them to tie him to a tree and then to throw sponges at him.
At times he coaxed some of his victims to walk naked into his shed where he got them to commit sex acts on him and he also sunbathed naked in from of children.
On occasions he lay naked in the garden and persuades some of the children to put towels over him before he’d suddenly throw off the towels to expose himself.
The PSNI’s Public Protection Branch welcomed the sentencing of Patterson on Friday.
“We want to thank them for their bravery in coming forward and their families for working with detectives to bring this abuser to justice,” Detective Chief Inspector Kerry Brennan said.
“Our Public Protection Branch specialist detectives are trained to investigate this type of crime and we will continue to empower victims to come forward and educate adults on how to spot the signs of abuse.
“Our thoughts today are with the young victims that this man preyed over for many years and their families. No child should ever have to suffer this type of horrific abuse.
“We want to thank them for their bravery in coming forward and their families for working with detectives to bring this abuser to justice.”