Belfast Telegraph

Paedophile in jail for raping girl (9) admits molesting young boy

Richard Francis, who raped a nine-year-old girl , pleaded guilty to further sex charges in court yesterday
Richard Francis, who raped a nine-year-old girl , pleaded guilty to further sex charges in court yesterday

By Staff Reporter

A paedophile branded as bad as Jimmy Savile by a victim has accepted guilt for another batch of offences committed before the crimes he is already in jail for.

Richard Francis (38), of Willoughby Place, Enniskillen, is currently serving a 14-year prison sentence for twice raping and indecently assaulting a nine-year-old girl in 2006.

Aged 26 at the time, he took his opportunity to sexually abuse the child during a game of hide-and-seek that later culminating in rape.

Francis was in court yesterday in relation to similar crimes which happened before the attack, but involving a boy.

Originally accused of 22 child sex offences, Francis pleaded not guilty to all of them earlier this year and the case was listed for trial.

However, he was re-arraigned and pleaded guilty to 17 counts of indecently assaulting the boy over a two-year period between 1993 and 1995.

A jury was sworn in in respect of five additional charges, but a prosecution lawyer said Francis had accepted a number of alternative charges and she would be offering no evidence as a result.

Judge Neil Rafferty QC instructed the jury to return a verdict of not guilty by direction.

Francis was asked to stand, stretching broadly as he did before placing his hands in his pockets, as he was addressed by the judge.

He was told: "I take all into consideration, including your pleas of guilt.

"At this stage, I cannot give any indication of how I will deal with you, except that it will be a significant custodial sentence."

Francis remained impassive throughout.

A number of reports are to be prepared and sentencing will take place next month.

During a 10-day trial at Dungannon Crown Court in 2018 for the attacks on the girl, Francis maintained his innocence.

A judge noted he had deliberately planned his assaults on the child by separating the victim from her playmates and taking her to a shed to carry out the abuse undisturbed.

During another incident, she was playing with Francis' younger sister in their home. To ensure they would not be disturbed, he locked his sister in her bedroom before raping the victim.

In compelling evidence, the victim, who had to endure a harsh cross-examination amid suggestions she had gone "willingly" with Francis, told how he struck up text contact with her some years afterwards. Some of these exchanges were read in court.

In one, he asked her why she never came to his area any more. On being rebuffed, he asked why she was angry with him. The victim then challenged Francis, saying: "I was nine. You raped me."

He replied: "I'm sorry... I hope to be dead soon."

The victim said: "Sorry isn't good enough... was I the only one you raped?"

Francis said, "Yes. I thought you wanted me to."

She replied: "I was nine. I wanted to be the Queen then."

When Francis asked what she wanted him to do, she said: "I don't care what you do... you should be in prison you ignorant, arrogant rapist. You are as bad as Jimmy Savile."

Belfast Telegraph

From Belfast Telegraph