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Ex-rugby star is cleared over 10 sex charges

Former Irish rugby international David Tweed, a Ballymoney DUP councillor, has been cleared of sexually abusing two young girls.

It took the Antrim Crown Court jury of nine women and three men under an hour-and-a-half to acquit 49-year-old Mr Tweed of a total of 10 sex charges, including indecent assault and gross indecency.

Afterwards Tweed, from Cherry Gardens in Ballymoney, said it had been a “very, very difficult time for my family and myself with these matters hanging over my head for such a long period”.

However Mr Tweed, capped four times for Ireland and a total of 32 times for Ulster, said he wished to thank the jury after his three-week trial for “their total vindication of me by unaminously finding me not guilty of all counts”.

By their verdicts the jury accepted Mr Tweed’s outright denials of “anything improper occurring” between him and the girls.

He had been accused of indecently assaulting one of the girls on two occasions and of exposing himself to the second girl, indecently assaulting her on four occasions and committing an act of gross indecency on her on three occasions. The first girl claimed that he had initially sexually abused her when she was just nine, but then did nothing for a number of years until she was 17 and he indecently assaulted her again. The second girl, whose claims were also dismissed by the jury, said the former rugby star initially began to expose himself to her before touching her under her clothing.

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