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‘If McConaghy is the Christian he professes to be he would have told the truth’

The woman subjected to years of sickening sex abuse at the hands of a so-called Christian church elder has spoken of her relief that her attacker has been revealed as a paedophile.



His victim said she contacted police after the death of a close friend who was aware of the abuse she had suffered and had told her repeatedly to “make sure he doesn't get away with it”.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph after John William McConaghy was sentenced for 20 counts of indecent assault, his victim said he had abused his position as a family friend and church elder and that she will always live in the shadow of the sex attacks.

To the outside world, McConaghy was a pillar of society, holding positions of responsibility as church elder and a Sunday school teacher — he was a person who commanded respect and the trust of those who knew him.

In reality the now wheelchair-bound 66-year-old was a monster subjecting a young girl to countless acts of depravity for his own twisted sexual gratification.

Too young to know any better, his young victim — who was only 10 when the abuse began — believed that what was happening to her was “the norm”.

She explained: “He has never shown any remorse, never shown any emotions about what he did. I had to give evidence in court because he wouldn’t admit what he did.

“I knew it was going to be hard. To be honest, I wasn’t sure we would even get a conviction because I know how hard it can be in cases where sexual assaults are concerned, and it really was my word against his, but thankfully the jury believed me.

“Saying that, it was a lot harder than even I had imagined, talking about what had happened in court and reliving it all.

“It was difficult having barristers shouting at me in court and calling me a liar. I just told the truth as best I could. If he was the Christian he professes to be he would have told the truth and not put me through that.

“I’m happy he was convicted.

“Of course, I would have much preferred for him to go to prison. I despise him, but I understand that they would not be capable of working with him, but at least people know him for what he is.”

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