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Man accused of kidnapping, raping and trafficking care home teen facing trial

By Paul Higgins

A jury has been sworn in to hear the trial of a man accused of raping a teenage girl he allegedly abducted from a children's home.

Jonathan McNeill (30) faces a string of further sex crime charges, including grooming his alleged victim and trafficking her within the country for sexual exploitation.

He also faces four further charges alleging sexual assault and sexual activity with a child.

All the crimes are alleged to have been committed on January 28, 2015.

The defendant, who is originally from the Coleraine area but now has an address at Woodland Grove in Antrim, denies all the offences.

Swearing in the eight men and four women to try the case, which is set to last more than a week, trial Judge Paul Ramsey QC gave the jury a brief outline of the Crown's claims against the defendant - namely that he sexually abused the girl at his home when she was 14 and had been in care for an unspecified number of years.

Releasing the jury to come back today, when the trial is scheduled to open, Judge Ramsey warned the jurors not to discuss the case or post on social media that they had been sworn in.

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