Belfast Telegraph

Man accused of rape said he found out schoolgirl's age after sex, court told

A 30-year-old man who claims he only found out the true age of a schoolgirl after they had sex has gone on trial accused of raping and sexually abusing her
A 30-year-old man who claims he only found out the true age of a schoolgirl after they had sex has gone on trial accused of raping and sexually abusing her

By Michael Donnelly

A 30-year-old man who claims he only found out the true age of a schoolgirl after they had sex has gone on trial accused of raping and sexually abusing her.

Thomas Reynolds, now with an address in Co Down, denies a total of eight charges including two of raping the then 14-year-old, sexual assault and inciting a child to engage in sex, all between May 23 and 26, 2017.

Prosecuting QC Richard Weir told a Crown Court jury of seven women and five men that Reynolds was a passenger in a BMW car which picked the girl and her older friend up after stopping and chatting to them and another girl.

Mr Weir said the three girls had been walking about, and drinking "Frosty Jack, an alcoholic drink", after having a Chinese meal. The Belfast court also heard that as the car drove around, the girl was given cocaine to snort from a 'silver key', and WKD to drink.

The girl claimed she told Reynolds and the others that she was only 14 when the subject of age came up, although it was claimed she was supposed to have said that she was older, 17.

Trial Judge Geoffrey Miller QC heard that Reynolds, who'd been allegedly kissing the girl, first sexually abused her in the back of the BMW when it stopped at a Lisburn Road apartment block.

The car was then driven to the Moira area to a "wee forest", where she was allegedly raped.

Mr Weir also told the court that Reynolds and the girl were then dropped off at his mother's home, where she was again sexually assaulted and raped despite her "yelling and crying for her mother".

Later in the early hours, following a call to her mobile phone, her mother collected her from the house before a report was made to police.

The lawyer said that during his police interviews Reynolds maintained that any sexual contact between him and the girl was consensual and that he believed at all times she was aged over 16.

He said he "thought she looked 19 or 20, and when asked said she was 20".

However, he also told police it was only after the early morning call before her mother came to collect her that the girl "revealed her age".

The trial, expected to last until next week, continues today.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph