14 years in jail for unrepentant rapist who abused girl (4)
A man who raped a four-year-old girl while her mother attended an evening class has been sentenced to 14 years.
The 26-year-old - who continues to deny the sex attack despite being unanimously convicted by a jury - will also spend a total of 10 years on supervised licence when he is released, as he is deemed a significant risk to others.
Judge Gordon Kerr QC said the length of the sentence was to reflect the "repugnance that all right-thinking people will feel", and the severity of the offence committed against the youngster on November 13, 2013 by a man who was effectively her stepfather.
Also in the dock of Belfast Crown Court was the youngster's mother, who found out she was pregnant with the rapist's child on the same day he sexually assaulted her daughter.
She has admitted trying to pervert the course of justice after lying to medics and police about how her daughter had been injured.
On the night of the incident the 27-year-old mother returned from an evening class to find the child in considerable distress.
Her partner told her the injury had occurred when he swiped the girl's hand away while giving her a shower.
She asked a neighbour for advice and revealed what she had been told by her partner about how the injury occurred.
She told the neighbour she was going to say that she had been the one showering the child as "she didn't want people to get the get the wrong idea" about her boyfriend.
The youngster was taken to Antrim Hospital, and examined by several medics who concluded the injury was non-accidental.
At the hospital the girl's mother initially claimed that she swiped the youngster's hand away from her while she was giving the child a shower
But she later admitted lying.
The woman, who no longer lives in this jurisdiction, has since given birth to a little boy, while her daughter remains in the care of her relatives.
She has limited access to her daughter and is now "trying to rebuild" a relationship with the child.
Telling her that she should have been more concerned about her daughter's injuries than lying for her partner, the woman was handed a nine-month sentence, which was suspended for two years.
This sentence, the judge said, was primarily for the welfare of her two children.