Belfast Telegraph

Belfast man 'tried to pull girl (12) into bedroom', court hears

Gary McBride appeared before Belfast High Court on Monday
Gary McBride appeared before Belfast High Court on Monday

By Alan Erwin

A man allegedly tried to pull a 12-year-old girl into his bedroom after inviting three children back to his flat in the middle of the night, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutors said police later found her friend lying drunk in 56-year-old Gary McBride's north Belfast apartment.

McBride, of Alexandra Gardens, faces charges of attempted sexual assault of a child and three counts of child abduction over the incident last week.

Refusing bail, a judge said: "I consider that this applicant is a danger and a risk of re-offending."

Police investigating reports that two girls and a boy had gone missing spoke to the 12-year-old after she returned to her home in a distressed state on June 30, the court was told.

She then took officers to the apartment in a bid to locate her 13-year-old female friend.

Crown lawyer Kate McKay said: "They discovered she was there, fully dressed and in a highly intoxicated state, on the bedroom floor of the flat."

McBride was located in the living room, smoking and drinking beer.

Both girls had so-called love bites on their necks, according to Mrs McKay.

She said the younger girl hugged her friend and apologised for having left her there.

McBride told police he invited them and a 15-year-old boy back after encountering all three outside in the rain, claiming they had informed him they were 18.

But according to the prosecution the 12-year-old girl remembered telling him her real age.

She claimed McBride had grabbed her while she was on the settee and said: "Come you with me into my room."

It was alleged that when she resisted and refused to go he told her: "I'm only messing with you sweetheart."

During questioning McBride said he had been listening to music and playing pool with the youngsters before going to bed and leaving them in the living room.

When he woke and found them still there he went out to an off licence, returning with beer, cider and vodka, the court heard.

McBride claimed the 12-year-old girl then got drunk very quickly, resulting in him asking the boy to take her away.

"He said there was no sexual intention when he invited them to his home," Mrs McKay added.

But opposing bail, she said police believe he poses a danger to the public.

Defence barrister Conor Maguire argued that the children had been free to leave whenever they wanted.

He set out how McBride was in a taxi when he came across them "drenched" at a nearby garage and invited them back.

At the flat he gave them his phone to play music and access the internet, as well as letting them play on a pool table in a second bedroom described as a games room.

However, Madam Justice McBride ruled that the accused must remain in custody.

She pointed out: "These are very vulnerable children, and there are a number of such children in Belfast."

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