Belfast Telegraph

Extradited rapist is freed after court case

By Ashleigh McDonald

A rapist who fled across the border after breaching conditions imposed when he was released from custody has appeared in the dock of Belfast Crown Court.

Gerard Edward Connors – who was jailed in 2009 for the rape of an American tourist in Colin Glen Forest in west belfast when he was 15 years old – was extradited from the Republic after breaching conditions imposed under the Sex Offenders Act.

When he was released after serving a four-year sentence for the rape, strict probation conditions were imposed.

He failed to notify police of a change of address on dates between June 18 and 27, 2012 and he also failed to notify police that he intended to leave the jurisdiction on dates between July 13 and 26, 2012.

Connors appeared in court yesterday where he pleaded guilty to the two charges.

The 23-year-old father-of-one, from Clowney Street in Belfast was handed a three-year prison sentence, which was suspended for three years.

A Crown prosecutor told Judge David McFarland that following his release from prison in April 2012, Connors was housed in a hostel in Belfast.

A defence barrister said his client found it "difficult to settle in the hostel" as other residents "got on their high moral horses" in respect of the offence he carried out and Connor – a member of the travelling community – was "picked on" and was subject to "racist abuse".

Passing sentence, Judge McFarland told Connors that while he appreciated he had endured difficulties, he was required as a sex offender to notify police of a change of address.

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