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Belfast man on trial accused of having sex with girl (14) after Eleventh Night bonfire party encounter

By John Cassidy

A man has gone on trial accused of having sex with an underage girl he met at an Eleventh Night bonfire party.

Stephen Meneice (40), of Thompson House, Antrim Road, Belfast, is facing 10 charges dating back almost five years ago.

A jury at Belfast Crown Court heard Meneice denies seven counts of sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 16, two counts of sexual activity with a child and one charge of making threats to kill.

The offences were alleged to have been committed on dates between July 11, 2012 and September 15, 2012.

Prosecution lawyer Kate McKay the alleged offences came to light when the victim told her father about the relationship with Meneice and he alerted police.

The jury of nine women and three men, sitting on the trial with Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland, heard that during her first interview with police, the victim claimed she met Meneice at 11th night bonfire party and a "relationship developed between them''.

At a subsequent interview, said Mrs McKay, she claimed that Meneice would "give her money and cigarettes'' and the first time they had sex was at his father's flat.

"She told police that the defendant knew she was 14 at the time as she had told him she was 14.''

The jury heard that the pair had sex on six further occasions, either at his father's flat or his mother's house while she was away on holiday.

Mrs McKay told the jury the victim told police that they were kissed during the alleged relationship which related to the charges of sexual activity with a child under the age of 16.

In relation to the charge of threats to kill, the prosecutor said: "She will say that he told what would happen to her if she told anyone about them: he would kill her.

"And she believed that might happen to her.''

The prosecutor said that Meneice was later arrested by police and at interview accepted that he knew the complainant and he had "given her alcohol and cigarettes''.

"He completely denied an inappropriate sexual relationship with the complainant,'' added Mrs McKay.

At hearing.

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