Belfast Telegraph

Jailed Northern Irish pensioner admits raping girl in 1970s

By Michael Donnelly

A pensioner already in prison for sickening sex crimes against two young girls stands to be jailed for even longer after he admitted raping another girl during the 1970s.

Former part-time handyman Louis Feeny, from Coleraine, was due to go on trial at Antrim Crown Court yesterday on six charges of rape, but defence QC Alan Kane asked that his client be re-arraigned.

Asked to give a plea to a single charge of raping the girl over a two-year period from June 1972 to September 1974 and five other "similar offences" Feeny replied that he pleased guilty.

Judge Gordon Kerr QC remanded the 66-year-old back to prison ahead of a sentencing hearing next month.

Feeny, from Killowen Street in the Co Antrim town, is currently serving three years' prison for the sexual abuse of two other girls in 1990 and 2000.

It was only after his admission of guilt to those offences that a previous decision not to prosecute him for the 1970s rapes was overturned.

Earlier this week, Judge Kerr dismissed a defence "abuse of process" application to stop the trial, given that past decision not to prosecute.

It is understood that loner Feeny has previous convictions for indecent assault dating back to 1968, when he was just 18, and another, nearly 20 years later in the 1980s.

When before Antrim Crown Court last December, Judge Desmond Marrinan told him: "To rob a child of innocence seems to me to be one of the worst things that anyone can do in this life as it's impossible to recapture.

"We only have one chance at living an innocent, childish life and you, sir, have deprived these children of that opportunity."

As well as jailing Feeny, Judge Marrinan imposed a 15-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order, banning him from contact with children in places such as parks, schools and leisure centres.

As in the present case, Feeny waited until the morning of his trial before admitting his guilt, pleading guilty to four counts of indecent assault against one victim and a fifth similar charge in relation to the second girl.

At the time, the court heard how Feeny abused his first victim while she was on family holidays in Portstewart in the mid-1990s and during a specific incident in January 2000.

Prosecuting lawyer Tessa Kitson told the court that the older girl remembered four specific incidents involving Feeny in the summers of 1994 and 1995 at a holiday home, described as a sort of "halfway house".

Unfortunately, the defendant had also been staying at the time and, unbeknownst to the owner, was already a convicted sex offender.

Belfast Telegraph


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