Teenager Connor Whyte in court charged with rape of girl (12) who gave birth to a baby boy
A west Belfast man has appeared in court accused of raping a 12-year-old girl and fathering a son as a result.
Connor Whyte (19), who refers to himself on social media as Conaire Adams Whyte, arrived at Belfast's Laganside Courts yesterday to be told that he will return again to court in the summer.
The former De La Salle pupil, also known as 'Mitch', was charged with rape after DNA tests were conducted on the baby by police. Police launched an investigation last year after the girl, who is now 13, became pregnant in July 2015.
The victim, also believed to be from west Belfast, gave birth to a boy in April, making her one of the youngest ever mothers in the UK.
Whyte, of Crocus Street, off the Springfield Road, was arrested in the Lenadoon area in October after police were advised about the young girl's pregnancy.
It is understood that he denied he was the father of the child and was released on police bail.
However, police waited until the baby was born and then carried out DNA tests before charging Whyte with rape of a child under 13.
The results of the DNA tests are understood to form part of the case against him.
The Belfast Telegraph understands that Whyte is now a recent dad of two sons, having fathered another child by a different woman last year.
He is believed to have been in a relationship with the child's mother, but they have since broken up.
The family of the alleged young victim are understood to have been left deeply shocked by the schoolgirl's pregnancy when it came to light last year.
Dressed in a grey hooded top as he entered the dock at Belfast Magistrates Court, Whyte spoke only to confirm he was aware of the alleged offence. Asked if he understood the charge, he replied: "Yes".
No further details of the case were disclosed. A prosecution lawyer asked for a six-week adjournment to allow efforts to prepare for a possible preliminary inquiry hearing at a future date.
According to recent statistics, 98% of teenagers who gave birth in 2014 were over 16. The youngest mother in the UK is thought to have become pregnant when she was still in primary school at the age of 11.
The girl, from London, gave birth in April 2014 aged 12 years and three months. In summer 2014, a north Belfast woman became Britain and Ireland's youngest known grandmother at 29 when her 15-year-old daughter gave birth.
The age of sexual consent in Northern Ireland has been reduced from 17 to 16. It is a criminal offence to engage in any sexual activity with any child, with a maximum penalty of 14 years' imprisonment. Where the sexual activity involves rape, the maximum is life imprisonment.
The number of teenage girls to give birth here has been steadily decreasing in recent years.
Figures from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency showed that in 2014, 839 children were born to teenage mothers.
Whyte left on continuing bail, flanked by two blonde females and two males. He will return to Laganside court on July 5.