Belfast Telegraph

Man accused of raping girl twice when she was aged nine

By Staff Reporter

A man on trial at Dungannon Crown Court for the alleged rape of a girl over a decade ago, when she was just nine years old, has been described as being "as bad as Jimmy Savile" by the alleged victim.

Richard Francis (37) of Willoughby Place, Enniskillen, denies two counts each of raping and indecently assaulting the girl on various dates in 2006. The prosecution said the alleged incidents remained unreported until the complainant confided in a friend at school after Francis, it is claimed, struck up contact by text.

The girl became distressed and uneasy following a school class and disclosed some details of what allegedly occurred to her friend.

She described "sexual stuff occurring in a shed with a much older man" and showed the texts. Teaching staff and the school's designated child protection officers became involved and the police were alerted.

The court heard the alleged offences occurred when the girl was visiting a relative. However, there is no familial connection between her and Francis.

On one occasion, he put her on the floor, removed her clothing and raped her, it was claimed.

The court was told Francis warned her not to tell anyone, which he likewise did when a further rape allegedly occurred at his home.

The abuse ceased, but in 2013 Francis allegedly initiated text contact with the complainant. She replied to some of the texts and a number of these exchanges were disclosed in court.

In response to one, the complainant tells Francis: "I was nine. You raped me."

He is alleged to have replied: "I'm sorry. Bye. I hope to be dead soon."

In one text he allegedly asked her what he should do. She replied: "I don't care what you do. Get out of my life. You should be in prison you ignorant, arrogant, rapist, c***. You are as bad as Jimmy Savile."

When Francis was arrested he rejected any such activity ever occurred, including sending the text messages.

The trial continues.

Belfast Telegraph

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