Paramedics rushed to a court yesterday as paedophile Michael Stevens collapsed onto the floor, shaking uncontrollably, after being jailed for 14 years for carrying out a series of sickening sex attacks on two primary school girls.
Former soldier Stevens had been sitting in a wheelchair with his head bowed as Judge Patrick Markey QC began sentencing, but he fell to the floor while gasping for air as he learned his fate.
Judge Markey continued the short sentence hearing at Craigavon Crown Court as security staff placed Stevens into the recovery position while paramedics arrived.
As the judge said that Stevens would be given no reduction in his jail sentence because of his ill health, the defendant sobbed loudly from the courtroom floor and cried out: “Oh God, please save me!”
Among those in the gallery were members of his victims’ families and members of the jury which convicted him after a three week trial last month.
Stevens had subjected his two six-year-old girl victims to a sordid series of sex attacks over a year and even made them give evidence to the jury via videolink because he denied the 17 separate child sex offences against him.
Judge Markey said neither the jury, nor anyone who had heard him give evidence, had believed a single word of his defence where he had claimed that one of his six-year-old victims had led him on.
The father-of-two had claimed that one of the schoolgirls had pushed his hand inside the front of her pyjamas and later grabbed his private parts against his will.
Judge Markey said yesterday: “Your behaviour fell short of rape but was at the far end of indecent assault and gross indecency.
“If I sentenced you on each charge in turn then you would go to jail for an astronomical period of time but I am required to impose a just and proportional sentence and for that you will go to prison for 14 years.
“I have made no allowance for your ill health and your sentence would have been longer if it could have been legally justified.”
As the judge read out the jail terms for the individual charges, Stevens’ breathing became laboured and he was seen to be sobbing and shaking in his wheelchair before suddenly collapsing on his side onto the courtroom floor.
Stevens remained on the floor as Judge Markey told him he would be placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.
He was last month convicted of nine separate indecent assault charges against one of his victims and four similar charges against the other young girl.
He was also found guilty of committing four separate acts of gross indecency with one of the girls, who was forced to carry out a series of sex acts upon him.