Belfast Telegraph

I'm no liar, woman accusing Francis McPeake of abuse tells trial

By Ashleigh McDonald

A woman who claims she was sexually abused by a famous traditional Irish musician when she was a 15-year-old schoolgirl has denied she made the allegations up.

The Belfast woman, who claims she became involved in a sexual relationship with Francis McPeake five years ago when he was aged 67 or 68, was giving evidence during the second day of a trial being held at Belfast Crown Court.

McPeake, who is now 72 and from Eliza Street Close in Belfast, is currently standing trial on 12 offences including sex with a child and sexual activity with a child.

The pensioner – who is part of the world-famous McPeake musical family – denies all the sexual charges against him.

The jury of six men and six women heard the woman claim that sexual activity between her and the pensioner first occurred during a trip to the Republic in July 2009. She said that when they returned to Belfast, she and McPeake entered into a relationship and that they had sex in his car, at the McPeake School of Music and in a music workshop.

During a second day of cross-examination by McPeake's barrister John Kearney QC, the woman was asked if she was aware that McPeake had had treatment for cancer which resulted in him suffering from erectile dysfunction.

Mr Kearney told the woman that since experiencing such problems, if McPeake wanted to have sex with his wife, he would have to take medication beforehand.

He asked the woman: "Did he ever discuss that with you?"

She replied: "No." She was also asked if there had ever been "any difficulties" when they had sex.

She again replied: "No."

The woman claims that the first incidents of sexual activity occurred in a minibus on a cross-border trip. However, Mr Kearney told the jury "the defendant's case is that it didn't happen at all".

The defence barrister then accused the woman of being disruptive on the trip.

He said she was constantly seeking McPeake out and complaining – but that instead of abusing her, McPeake tried to offer her support regarding personal problems she discussed with him.

At hearing.

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