Belfast Telegraph

I loved folk star Francis McPeake, 'victim' tells trial

By Ashleigh McDonald

A woman who claimed she was sexually abused by famous traditional Irish musician Francis McPeake when she was a teenager has told a jury she had been in love with him.

The alleged abuse occurred in 2009 and 2010, when the girl was 15 and McPeake was 67 or 68.

She claimed the alleged abuse robbed her of her childhood and ruined her life, but at the time she thought he was "God's gift".

McPeake, now 72 and from Eliza Street Close in Belfast, is standing trial on 12 sex offences. He denies all charges.

Giving evidence at the first day of the trial at Belfast Crown Court, the young woman claimed that she had sex with the pensioner – part of the world-famous McPeake musical family – on scores of occasions.

She claimed the first sexual activity occurred at a music event in the Republic.

She said that during the trip, McPeake asked her to go on a message with him in a minibus.

She said he parked up near a beach before kissing her and putting his hand down her trousers.

She said the sexual activity continued when they got back to Belfast, culiminating in intercourse at a music workshop and at the McPeake School of Music in the city centre.

When asked by Crown prosecutor Charles MacCreanor QC how she felt about McPeake around that time, she replied: "How did I feel? I loved him, so I did.

"I thought it was normal what we were doing, being with him.

"I thought he was my boyfriend."

At hearing.

Belfast Telegraph

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