Belfast Telegraph

Pensioner remanded in custody over child sex abuse

A Belfast pensioner was remanded in custody today accused of child sex abuse spanning 25 years.

The 69-year-old man, who cannot be identified to protect the alleged victims, faces charges involving indecent assault, gross indecency and having sex with a child.

He appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court using a walking stick due to injuries inflicted on him in a paramilitary-style attack.

The judge allowed him to remain seated as a total of seven charges involving three different girls were put to him.

Opposing bail, a police officer claimed there was a risk of further offences if he was released.

"These alleged offences have been ongoing for a period of over 25 years, right up until January this year," he said.

He also cited the risk of interference with witnesses, and concerns for the pensioner's own safety.

A defence lawyer confirmed all allegations were being denied by the accused.

"He is abhorred by these charges. He is pleading not guilty," he said.

The lawyer confirmed his client had been subjected to a paramilitary-style attack.

Acknowledging the potential further threat to him, he added: "The defendant accepts there's a possible risk but he is willing to take that risk."

However, Deputy District Judge Joe Rice refused bail due to the concerns about re-offending and interfering with the investigation.

Mr Rice pointed out: "There is a history of 25 years of (alleged) abuse of victims in this case, right up to and including 2013.

"The pensioner was remanded in custody to appear again by video link on July 30."

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