Belfast Telegraph

I am not putting on show, says accused musician Francis McPeake

By Ashleigh McDonald

A traditional Irish musician was accused of putting on a performance while being cross-examined about sex abuse charges.

Francis McPeake spent a second day in the witness box at Belfast Crown Court, where he again denied he engaged in sexual activity with a 15-year-old schoolgirl.

The musician (72), formerly of Eliza Street Close in the Markets area of Belfast, was questioned about the nature of his relationship with the teenager.

She claimed they were in a sexual relationship from June 2009 to May 2010, while McPeake maintains he knew her through music, and that he listened to her when she was having problems.

He was quizzed about his sexual capabilities after treatment for prostate cancer in 2004.

Under cross-examination by Crown prosecutor Charles MacCreanor, McPeake initially told the court: "Nothing works."

The complainant, who is now 20, said McPeake's sexual functioning was normal, to which McPeake replied: "That's a lie."

When asked by the Crown to explain why in September 2009 his sexual function was medically described as "normal", McPeake said: "Those notes are wrong."

When it was put to McPeake that the complainant "says that you engaged in sexual activity", he said he "never had any sexual contact" with her "at any time".

The musician told the jury that the girl told him she was sexually active from the age of around eight, that members of her family had abused her and that she had expressed suicidial tendencies.

When asked about why he never told anyone else what she had told him, McPeake replied: "She told me that if I went to her mother, social services or anybody she would commit suicide."

McPeake claimed that he raised concerns about the girl to her mother at a confrontation between him and her family in February 2010 where he was told she would not be allowed to see him.

McPeake admitted further contact, but claimed the girl initiated it. As he again denied the sexual allegations put to him, Mr MacCreanor said: "This is just a performance you are putting on."

He replied: "I am not lying."

At hearing

Belfast Telegraph


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