Avalon Guitars founder Steve McIlwrath admits to indecent child images and upskirting charges

The charges were first brought against him last year.

Steve McIlwrath

Image: Steve McIlwrath via Twitter

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Stephen McIlwrath, the founder and managing director of Northern Irish acoustic guitar maker Avalon Guitars, has plead guilty to charges of both upskirting and of creating and possessing indecent photographs of children. The charges were first filed in March of 2022.

According to the Belfast News Letter, McIlwrath entered guilty pleas to 11 of the 13 charges in total. These include charges of making or possessing a total of 176 indecent photographs of children, and one charge of outraging public decency “by recording upskirt images of an unknown female.”

Another charge laid against McIlwrath, one of possessing indecent images with a view to show or distribute them to others, was not put to him again, however remains “on the books” to be assessed at a later date.

McIlwrath also reportedly stated, while admitting his guilt to the upskirting charge, that the dates put forward were incorrect. Judge Patrick Lynch responded that, given the guilty plea, “the dates are irrelevant”, and can be updated as the case continues.

Judge Lynch delayed sentencing McIlrath, who has now been released on bail. This was in order for a probation pre-sentence report to be compiled, and for the defence to lodge medical and psychiatric reports.

McIlwrath is the founder and managing director of Avalon – the company that was borne from the liquidation of the original Avalon Guitars company in 2013. Since its rebirth Avalon has specialised in producing high-end, hand-made acoustic instruments from its workshop in County Down.

Prior to his arrest, McIlwrath was also was the voluntary business advisor for youth charity Young Enterprise NI (YENI), and had previously been a spokesman for the Northern Irish Conservative Party.

Avalon Guitars has been contacted for comment.

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