Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Caravan site boss accused of raping girl

THE manager of a top caravan site on Northern Ireland's famous North Coast has gone on trial accused of raping and sexually abusing a teenage girl who looked upon him as a "father figure".

THE manager of a top caravan site on Northern Ireland's famous North Coast has gone on trial accused of raping and sexually abusing a teenage girl who looked upon him as a "father figure".

Desmond Alan McDowell (42), manager of Hayes caravan site on the Clare Road in Ballycastle, denies five charges of indecent assault and a further seven of rape, all between December 1989 and December 1993, when the girl was aged between 13 and 18.

While giving evidence to Antrim Crown Court yesterday, the 25-year-old claimed she had looked upon McDowell and his wife "as a family and him as a father figure".

She told the court that the abuse began when she was 13 and staying with them when McDowell suggested a game of pool: "I went to go out the door and realised it was locked. He reached across my chest and pushed me against the wall."

She went on to claim that he began kissing her on the mouth and neck before feeling her chest and private areas.

Asked why she did not tell anyone what he had done, the witness told prosecution QC Jacqueline Orr that he had told her to "keep it a secret" and that she had "no-one to tell" because the relationship with her mum was "tense".

The woman claimed she was first raped on the living room floor of McDowell's bungalow when she was 14. "I asked him to stop. It was so sore all I can remember is the pain."

She went on to allege she was raped a number of times at various locations in the bungalow and on the caravan site itself. She recalled an alleged incident when he raped her in his son's bed while his wife was recovering from having their child:

She told the court that she did not want any of these things to happen but that "he knew that he had so much power over me."

Under cross-examination from defence QC Jim Alastair, she denied that she was "making it all up" and claimed she had not told anyone about it in the last eight years because she was "so scared" of McDowell.

The 25-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, went to the police in January last year and McDowell was subsequently arrested.

During police interviews he admitted he knew the girl but denied "inappropriate behaviour" on his part.

At hearing.

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