Belfast Telegraph

Paedophile guilty of raping ex-partner's young daughter

A west Belfast man was remanded in custody yesterday after a jury unanimously found him guilty of the rape and sexual assault of his ex-partner's young daughter
A west Belfast man was remanded in custody yesterday after a jury unanimously found him guilty of the rape and sexual assault of his ex-partner's young daughter

By John Cassidy

A west Belfast man was remanded in custody yesterday after a jury unanimously found him guilty of the rape and sexual assault of his ex-partner's young daughter.

The 43-year-old, now with an address in Co Antrim and who cannot be named to protect the victim's identity, denied a total of 12 charges.

The prosecution said the offences started in April 2013 when the girl was aged 10 and continued until February 2018.

After deliberating for seven-and-a-half hours, the jury of nine men and three women returned unanimous guilty verdicts on one count of rape and four counts of sexual assault and unanimous not guilty verdicts on the remaining seven charges.

During the trial at Belfast Crown Court prosecution counsel Richard Weir QC told the jury that the defendant and the complainant's mother started a relationship in 2012 and later moved in together the following year.

It was the Crown case that the offences were committed both at the family home and also while on a family holiday abroad.

Mr Weir said that in April 2013 the couple returned to the family home after a night out drinking and said the defendant was "inebriated".

He told the jury that the defendant was "lying on the sofa and the 10-year-old girl came down the stairs to get a drink of water" when she was sexually assaulted by her stepdad for the first time. The senior prosecutor said the incidents were "repeated and repeated" and eventually led to the complainant being raped, including while on holiday.

Following the guilty verdicts yesterday, defence counsel Richard Greene QC asked for his client to be released on continuing bail ahead of sentencing.

But this was rejected by Mr Weir, who said releasing the defendant on bail "was putting off the inevitable".

Judge Patricia Smyth said: "It appears to me following this conviction only a lengthy prison sentence will be appropriate in this case.

"It is not appropriate to grant bail and he will be remanded in custody."

The defendant will be sentenced next month.

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