Belfast Telegraph

Belt-wielding Tyrone dad who chased daughter through forest jailed

By Staff Reporter

An abusive father who hunted down his child as she ran through a forest to escape him while he brandished a belt had engaged in violence against her over many years before his eventual arrest, a court has heard.

The defendant, who is in his 30s and from Co Tyrone, cannot be named to protect the identity of the little girl.

He appeared by video-link before Dungannon Magistrates' Court yesterday where two sets of offences were admitted and he was jailed for four months.

The court heard police got a 999 call from the child, who was hiding upstairs in her home, at 11pm on April 16.

She said she had walked in on a row between her parents in the kitchen and her father pushed her against a door, causing her to fall to the floor. She then fled upstairs and rang the PSNI.

Her father was arrested and removed from the house.

Investigations continued but around three weeks later on May 9, the court heard the girl was playing with friends when her father "appeared from nowhere", shouting and swinging a belt over his head.

The other children made off, and the victim fled into a nearby forest where she hid.

The defendant continued shouting for her and the child took a chance and ran, only to be chased by her father. Having almost caught her, he slipped and fell to the ground but caught hold of the girl's leg.

She managed to break free and got away.

Her father was again arrested but denied all allegations put to him. The charges were later admitted in court. A defence barrister said: "Whilst it is appreciated there is a little history in this matter, it was not a case of denials but more of misunderstanding."

It was accepted the defendant was previously jailed for assaulting the same child and has been remanded in custody due to repeated breaches of bail.

The defence added: "Parenting skills are an issue for my client due to alcohol issues."

He said efforts to find him accommodation with the Simon Community had failed.

District Judge John Meehan said: "I will not dwell on the notorious impact of violence inflicted on vulnerable children, such as the defendant has been engaging against his daughter over a period of years.

"The second incident was truly bizarre and involving him hunting her down, marshalled with a belt."

Belfast Telegraph

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