Belfast Telegraph

Francis McPeake: Trip with teenager was a 'big mistake'

By Ashleigh McDonald

Traditional Irish musician Francis McPeake has told his trial he made a big mistake taking a schoolgirl and her friend to Bangor, but he claimed the teenager insisted on accompanying him.

Mr McPeake, from Eliza Street Close in Belfast, is on trial for 12 offences including sex with a child. He denies all charges.

In June 2009, he took the girl in question, who was 15 at the time of the alleged abuse, and her friend to Bangor. The girl has said that on their way, they stopped at Sainsbury's, where McPeake bought alcohol and they changed out of their school uniforms.

Under cross-examination, he denied buying them a carry-out and said the girl "insisted" on coming along with her friend.

And when Crown barrister Charles MacCreanor QC suggested Mr McPeake still did not have to take her, he replied: "No, that was a big mistake on my behalf."

The musician also branded a suggestion that he kissed the girl in front of two women at Pickie Fun Park "a lie", and he said that the alleged victim was "frantic" after they stopped at a hotel on the way home because she wrongly believed she had been spotted by a family friend.

McPeake claimed the girl kept turning up where he was and bothering him. And when asked why he continued to agree to meet her, McPeake said she had threatened to tell his wife he was having an affair, threatened that she would call social services and also threatened to kill herself.

The trial continues.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph