Belfast Telegraph

Enniskillen man who said sex with niece was consensual found guilty of rape

An Enniskillen man has been found guilty of raping his niece in an incident over two years ago, which he accepted was incest but maintained sex was at her instigation
An Enniskillen man has been found guilty of raping his niece in an incident over two years ago, which he accepted was incest but maintained sex was at her instigation

By Staff Reporter

An Enniskillen man has been found guilty of raping his niece in an incident over two years ago, which he accepted was incest but maintained sex was at her instigation.

The defendant, who is aged in his fifties and cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, denied hearing her tell him, "Get off me. This is incest."

His trial began last week at Dungannon Crown Court before a jury of five women and seven men. Counsel for the Public Prosecution Service, Charles McCreanor QC, explained the incident occurred on April 30, 2017, after an evening socialising, when the defendant put the victim to bed as she was intoxicated.

She considered him "a friend and trustworthy". Having thanked him, he kissed her on the mouth which she felt was "weird". The defendant then climbed into bed beside his niece, stripped off her clothes and raped her.

The victim described trying to push him away saying: "Get off me. This is incest." But he replied: "It's okay," and continued on. The victim believed she passed out but on waking the next day, "It all came flooding back".

Distressed, she immediately sent a text to her uncle reading, "Stay away from me".

She then contacted two close friends who came to her home at once and police were called. The defendant was arrested and during interview accepted sex had taken place but was adamant it was consensual.

Mr McCreanor said this was not a case where (the defendant) disputed sex took place. "He says it did but was consensual. In fact, he says (the victim) instigated it, telling him what to do. He claimed she kissed him and he reciprocated."

Asked during police interview if the victim objected and mentioned incest, the defendant responded, "Not that I know of." A video-recorded interview with the victim was played to court in which she broke down in tears several times as she described the incident, which had left her traumatised. She was holding a party for some friends in her home on the evening in question, "having a few drinks and enjoying the craic".

Around 7.30pm, her uncle sent a text asking, "Can I call up? Trouble at home."

She confirmed this was fine and he arrived some 30 minutes later. The atmosphere was good and the uncle was described as "normal, happy-go-lucky". "We always got on well," the victim added.

He didn't broach the subject of what he meant by "trouble at home", in his text message, and the victim assumed this was because other people were present. At around 9pm three male friends decided to leave to go to a pub.

That left two female friends and the defendant with the victim, who said she was drunk but "in really good humour".

As the evening wore on more alcohol was consumed and the two female friends decided to leave.

The victim wanted to go to bed but required assistance due to the amount of alcohol she had taken, accepting, "I could hardly walk".

The uncle held her as she climbed the stairs and put her into bed, fully clothed.

But he then also got into bed, before stripping off her clothes and raping her.

Throughout the trial the defendant accepted incestuous sex with his niece but was adamant it was consensual and at her instigation. He flatly denied rape.

But the jury did not believe him and after deliberating for around three hours returned a unanimous guilty verdict. The defendant showed no reaction as the verdict was read out.

Relatives of the victim, seated in the public gallery, hugged each other and wept with relief.

Judge Brian Sherrard QC thanked the jury for their dedication to the case.

While the defence requested their client be released on continuing bail while pre-sentence reports are prepared, the prosecution objected, given the serious nature of the offence, the inevitable outcome and the vulnerability of the victim.

Judge Sherrard agreed and ruled bail would be inappropriate under the circumstances.

The defendant was remanded in custody and will be sentenced in January.

He was automatically made subject to sex offender notification requirements.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph