Belfast Telegraph

Belfast man Graham Thompson who admitted rape at his home to be sentenced

Judge Rafferty said that he wanted to carefully consider a number of matters in the case, adding that he would pass sentence tomorrow (stock photo)
Judge Rafferty said that he wanted to carefully consider a number of matters in the case, adding that he would pass sentence tomorrow (stock photo)

By John Cassidy

A North Belfast man who admitted raping a woman after they met online will be sentenced tomorrow.

Graham Thompson (38), of Vara Drive off the Shankill Road, pleaded guilty last month as he was about to go on trial for the rape of the woman in December 2017.

In light of his guilty plea, the prosecution asked that a second charge of sexual assault be "left on the books and not be proceeded with without the leave of this court or the Court of Appeal".

Belfast Crown Court heard yesterday how Thompson met the woman on a "dating website" and invited her back to his house.

Prosecution counsel Charles MacCreanor QC said the victim did not intend to stay at Thompson's home that evening and only wanted a "cup of tea or coffee".

"The defendant started getting amorous in the kitchen, but she said she was tired and didn't feel like doing anything," he told the court.

"He tried to kiss her and she told him, 'Stop. I am not really up for it tonight. I am tired'."

Judge Neil Rafferty QC heard that the victim moved from the kitchen into the living room, where she "tripped on the strap of her bag" and fell onto the settee.

Mr MacCreanor said that at this point, Thompson tried to touch her, but despite her pleas for him to stop, he didn't and then raped her.

The victim later told a clergyman about what had happened along with two friends and she subsequently made a statement to police about the serious sex assault.

At interview, Thompson denied all the allegations she had made against him.

The court was told that Thompson, who has a previous conviction for a dishonesty offence, was assessed as a medium risk of reoffending in the future.

The prosecution counsel handed into court a victim impact statement and said the events of that night had a "significant impact" on the woman.

Defence counsel Neil Connor QC said that by his guilty plea, Thompson was showing his remorse for his offending.

He asked that Thompson be afforded "substantial credit" for his guilty plea, which had saved the victim the trauma of having to give evidence at his trial.

Judge Rafferty said that he wanted to carefully consider a number of matters in the case, adding that he would pass sentence tomorrow.

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