Belfast Telegraph

Fermanagh man charged with raping girl (9) denies contacting her by text

By Staff Reporter

A man has gone on trial in Dungannon accused of raping a nine year-old girl, who later told him he was "as bad as Jimmy Savile".

Richard Francis (36) of Willoughby Place, Enniskillen, is accused of two counts of raping the girl, as well as two of indecent assault.

Francis, who was aged about 26 at the time, denies all charges, which are alleged to have occurred around 2006.

Prosecution Counsel Mr Charles McCreanor QC told the jury of nine men and three women at Dungannon Crown Court that the victim reported the allegations to police in 2013, following contact from Francis.

He was arrested and the phone in question was seized and forensically examined.

Mr McCreanor said the victim would be visiting a relative when the alleged abuse would occur, although there is no familial relationship with Francis.

The child would be playing outdoors and the accused would often join in, despite the significant age gap, the court heard.

She recalled during part of "a counting game", she and Francis ended up in a shed. During this it was alleged Francis put his hands under the girl's top and touched her chest.

He told her this was normal and she should not tell anyone.

On the next occasion, the victim and Francis were again in the shed. Whilst this allegedly began with similar touching, the victim said she was put on the floor and her clothes taken off, before she was raped.

Again, Francis is alleged to have told the girl this was normal and she mustn't tell anyone.

The second count of rape allegedly occurred in Francis' home.

Mr McCreanor told the court the victim never disclosed the activity to anyone, and only went to police after receiving text messages from Francis, some years after the abuse ceased.

Some of the message content was read out, including an exchange in which the victim challenged Francis on his behaviour.

She said: "When I was nine, you raped me."

Francis allegedly replied: "I'm sorry. Bye. I hope to be dead soon."

The victim responded that sorry was not good enough and asked: "Am I the only one you raped?"

When she received a message allegedly saying she was and asked what she wanted him to do, the victim replied: "I don't care what you do. You should be in prison you ignorant, arrogant, rapist c***. You are as bad as Jimmy Savile."

The court was told when Francis was interviewed by police he denied all allegations put to him. He further denied sending the text messages and had no idea why the victim would make the allegations. Francis, who appeared in the dock dressed in a grey suit and shirt, has maintained his innocence from the outset.

At hearing.

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