I knew something was wrong, mum of alleged rape victim tells court
The mother of a teenage girl allegedly raped in a north Belfast park has told a jury she felt something wasn't right when her daughter returned home from a night out.
The girl - who was 14 at the time - was supposed to be staying with a friend after attending a birthday party in a local pub.
However, she returned home in the early hours "steaming drunk" with her wet clothes covered in mud and with leaves in her hair.
William George McVeigh is standing trial at Belfast Crown Court accused of raping the girl in Woodvale Park.
The 28-year-old is also facing two alternative charges, namely sexual activity with a child and sexual assault.
McVeigh, from Forthriver Green in Ballygomartin, has denied the offences, claiming that the girl told him she was 19 and anything sexual that occurred between them on October 31, 2015 was consensual. During day three of the trial, the teenager's mother revealed how she felt "something wasn't right" after her daughter arrived home at 3.30am, when she was supposed to be staying with her friend.
The jury heard the teenager had been grounded for drinking prior to October 2015, and was told that she could attend the party with family members as long as she left at midnight.
Just after midnight the girl and her friend were captured on CCTV leaving the bar on the Shankill Road and walking towards a Chinese takeaway on Lanark Way.
The girls became separated, and around 15 minutes later the teenager and McVeigh were seen on the same CCTV camera walking back up the Shankill.
It is the Crown's case that after being seen on CCTV at several locations the pair entered Woodvale Park, where McVeigh raped the girl.
It is also the Crown's case that the girl was so drunk - as is shown on the CCTV footage, which includes her falling twice in front of McVeigh, that she was in no fit state to consent to anything, and that her state of intoxication would have been obvious to him.
When she spoke to police a few days later the teenager said she had little recollection of what had happened due to her alcohol intake, but she could recall being in the park with an older man who she met in the Chinese takeaway.
Giving evidence yesterday, the girl's mother said that after being woken by her daughter rapping the door, she heard a man's voice outside her house saying "rap it louder".
Describing the teenager as "steaming drunk" at 3.30am when she returned home, the mother said she noticed "her legs were muddy and covered in scratches. She had leaves in her hair and her whole outfit was soaking and muddy. She was drenched through to the skin".
The mother said that her daughter fell asleep on the sofa, as her nephew was staying in her bed, but that she kept shaking her to waken her up and find out what had happened.
From the witness box, she told the jury: "I asked who she had been with and she said she couldn't remember."
After ascertaining she had been in Woodvale Park, when her mother asked why, she again said she couldn't remember.
The mother added: "My first instinct was to check her underwear, so I lifted her skirt up and her underwear was the same as her dress - grey, muddy and wet."
After changing her daughter into pyjamas and covering her with a quilt, the mother went to bed.
She then woke her daughter at 8am. She said: "I told her to go to her room so I could speak to her alone. She just looked at me blankly and followed me up the stairs.
"I told her I was taking her to the doctor.
"I asked her a lot of times what happened, but she kept saying she couldn't remember. I thought saying I was taking her to the doctor would shock her into telling me something, but she started crying and begging me to take her to the doctor.
"When I asked why, she said she was scared in case something had happened."
The mother revealed that the girl also told her she felt "different down below".
She said her daughter then said the more she thought about it, she could remember being in Woodvale Park with a man, but that she couldn't remember who he was or what had happened.
When the mother was asked "was she (the girl) right in thinking she would be in big trouble if she came home and was found to be drunk", the mother replied: "Yes."