THE man behind Ripley’s controversial £45m rail plan has this week admitted he is a convicted sex offender, but claims he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice.
Desmond McKinley, the boss of the firm behind the rail proposal, was the subject of a court case in Ireland two weeks ago when he was convicted of breaching requirements of the Sex Offenders’ Act 1997, which means his name is on the Sex Offenders’ Register.
On January 27, he was convicted at Belfast Magistrates’ Court of breaching conditions, including changing his name from Patrick Shields to Desmond Shields McKinley without informing police. At court, he faced four charges of breaching requirements of the Act and was fined a total of £400 in his absence, having not been required to travel to Ireland to attend the hearing. He was convicted of failing to notify the Police Service in Northern Ireland that he had changed his name from Patrick Shields to Desmond Shields McKinley in March 2008, two counts of providing false information to police over the name change by falsely claiming in September 2008 and September 2009 to still being called Patrick Shields, and failing in September 2009 to notify the police of his name and address. A spokesman for the court this week confirmed that Patrick Shields was a convicted sex offender, who was jailed in 1997 for 12 years on five charges.
This week at his address in Loughborough he said had been subject of the proceedings and had been living in the Leicestershire town for a year. He categorically denied the 1997 charges he was convicted of claiming he had been the “victim of a miscarriage of justice”. He claimed the original court case had been a “shambles”. He said he had changed his name and went to Loughborough because he had a network of friends there.
He said: “I just want to start a new life here. I want to build up my business and create new jobs.”
He is the senior partner of the CES Group, the organisation behind the proposed Ripley railway project, otherwise known as the Amber Valley Regeneration Project. He was due to meet fellow members of the Amber Valley Regeneration Project on Saturday, February 5, for a site meeting in Ripley, but he did not attend. Michael Rogen, who is part of the rail project, told the News he did not know why Mr McKinley had not attended the meeting. The CES plan for Ripley would provide a rail link from Ripley to Derby.