Belfast Telegraph

OAP is jailed for abuse of his partner's grandkids

By Ashleigh McDonald

A Belfast man who sexually abused three siblings over an eight-year period has been jailed.

The 72-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the two sisters and a brother he abused, was handed a six-year sentence.

The pensioner was told by Judge Geoffrey Miller QC that he will serve half his sentence in prison followed by a three-year period on probation when he is released.

Yesterday, Belfast Crown Court heard that the defendant - who was in a relationship with their grandmother - used to bring one of his young victims to work with him on a Saturday morning, where he would abuse her on a regular basis while playing.

He initially denied a host of sexual offences, but appeared in court after admitting six counts of indecent assault against the siblings over a period spanning from 1998 to 2005. Each of the children were under the age of 10 when they were targeted by their grandmother's partner.

Judge Miller said his admission vindicated his victims and spared them the trauma of giving evidence in court.

Crown prosecutor Laura Ivers revealed all the abuse occurred in Downpatrick - mainly in the victims' grandmother's home.

The defendant began abusing the oldest sibling, who the court heard "spent a lot of time with her grandmother".

The girl was sexually assaulted by the defendant both in her grandmother's house and in the man's place of work from the ages of six to 10.

Her younger sister was abused from the ages of six to eight. Many of his cases of abuse occurred when he was babysitting for his partner. The prosecutor said these incidents occurred "every time he had the opportunity".

Also abused was their brother, who regarded the defendant as a father figure. He was abused once by his granny's partner when he was aged around six or seven, who told him what occurred was a "wee secret" between them.

The alarm was initially raised in 2005 when the male victim alerted his mother to the defendant's behaviour towards his sisters.

No official complaint was made at that time, however each of the siblings subsequently revealed what happened to them.

When the defendant was arrested, he initially denied claims made by the two sisters and brother. However, he later pleaded guilty to six counts of indecent assault. Defence barrister Ken McMahon QC told the court his client came before the court with an otherwise clear criminal record.

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