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Antrim man McNeill gave cash to teen girl after abducting and raping her, court told

By Paul Higgins

A man accused of raping a child "gave her money" after the alleged incident, a jury heard.

The Antrim Crown Court jury also heard allegations yesterday that despite the then 14-year-old girl repeatedly telling Jonathan McNeill "no", he had sex with her regardless.

McNeill (30), originally from Coleraine but now with an address at Woodland Grove in Antrim, faces a total of eight charges. These are: human trafficking; child abduction; rape; meeting a child after sexual grooming, and four counts of sexual assault and sexual activity with a child, all alleged to have occurred on January 28, 2015.

Opening the Crown case before the jury and Judge Paul Ramsey QC, prosecuting barrister Margaret-Anne Dinsmore claimed there had been sexualised messaging between McNeill and the complainant in the days leading up to the alleged rape. He apparently asked her when was the last time she had sex.

"You will hear that during these communications she told the defendant that she was 14," said Mrs Dinsmore, adding that on the day of the incident McNeill picked her up outside the children's home where she lived at about 3.30am before taking her to his home.

Standing in his bedroom, "she alleges that he said that they were going to have sex", before taking her trousers down and touching her in a sexual manner.

The 14-year-old "said no, and she alleges that not withstanding that, the defendant... had sex with her", said the senior QC.

She further claimed that after the sex attack he took her home again "and that he gave her money".

McNeill was arrested and interviewed, and although he accepted "she was in his bedroom", he denied there was any sexual contact.

Mrs Dinsmore told the jury it was the Crown case that McNeill had "removed that child from the care home and we say that's child abduction", and that in relation to human trafficking, "the defendant arranged or facilitated the travel of another person... and that arrangement was in order that the child would be engaged in sexual activities".

She warned the jury not to be swayed during their deliberations.

She declared that while the burden of proof was always with the prosecution, "we say you will be firmly convinced of the defendant's guilt".

At hearing.

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