Belfast Telegraph

Claim daughter still loyal to 'abusive' Belfast dad, court hears

The man was refused bail on charges related to an alleged two-year campaign of molestation.
The man was refused bail on charges related to an alleged two-year campaign of molestation.

By Alan Erwin

A Belfast man accused of sexually abusing his teenage daughter groomed and manipulated her with talk of running away together, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutors claimed the 38-year-old defendant controlled her to such an extent that she still remains loyal to him.

Details emerged on Wednesday as he was refused bail on charges related to an alleged two-year campaign of molestation.

The man, who cannot be identified, faces counts of rape, attempted rape, sexual assault, sexual activity with a child family member, sexual communication with a child, making and possessing indecent photographs of a child, inciting her to take indecent images, and possessing Class A drugs.

The alleged offences were committed from June 2016 to December 2018, when his daughter was aged between 13 and 15.

Social services and police were alerted last month after the girl confided to a school friend, according to the prosecution.

Crown lawyer Conor Maguire said: "The friend had received phone messages (from her) over the weekend stating that it was happening again, and that her father was coming to get her."

Most of the alleged assaults occurred in the family home, fuelled by heaving drinking and occurring up to twice a week.

It was claimed the man also ordered his daughter to pose for indecent photographs, and sent messages referring to the type of abuse he intended to carry out.

Examination of the accused's mobile phone corroborates the girl's version of events, Mr Maguire contended.

During interviews the man initially denied any sexual activity with her.

But he subsequently made "partial admissions" to taking indecent photos of his daughter, asking her to send images to him, and using cocaine, the court was told.

Opposing bail, Mr Maguire cited the risks of re-offending and interference with the investigation.

"The injured party has what is described as remarkable loyalty to the applicant, notwithstanding the abuse she said occurred," he continued.

"She has also told police that the applicant had said to her that they would run away together and make a life together."

Amid an alleged deterioration in his marriage, the man was said to have feared being forced to leave his home before Christmas.

Mr Maguire added: "Police say the applicant has manipulated, groomed and controlled the injured party over two years to the extent that she has this relationship with him."

Defence counsel Ben Thompson said his client voluntarily went to police and cooperated fully once the allegations emerged.

He confirmed partial admissions were made to "lower end" sexualised contact and taking images.

"A picture is painted of him at that stage experiencing relationship difficulties with his wife, suffering severely distorted thinking and increasingly prevalent reliance on alcohol, particularly in the evening times where he found himself in a pattern of staying up later and drinking more and more heavily," Mr Thompson submitted.

He argued that the accused has since detoxified and could be released to live at an address well away from his daughter.

Denying bail, however, Mrs Justice Keegan ruled: "At the minute I don't consider that the risk could be managed."

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