Belfast Telegraph

Pervert jailed for raping daughter was cleared to work with vulnerable kids

A judge told the man, from Co Tyrone, that he considered him a danger to other children and the public, and therefore won't automatically qualify for release after serving half the jail term (stock photo)
A judge told the man, from Co Tyrone, that he considered him a danger to other children and the public, and therefore won't automatically qualify for release after serving half the jail term (stock photo)

By Michael Donnelly

A self-confessed child rapist who was cleared to work with vulnerable children and adults the day he was arrested for the abuse of his daughter has been sentenced to 11 years.

A judge told the man, from Co Tyrone, that he considered him a danger to other children and the public, and therefore won't automatically qualify for release after serving half the jail term.

Instead it will be up to the Parole Commissioners to decide when he should be released after this time. When eventually freed, he will be subject to a further three years of supervised licence.

The man, in his 30s, who can't be named to protect the identity of his young daughter, had pleaded guilty to a total of 15 charges including two of oral rape of his daughter, and 13 of possessing indecent images of young people, including those of forcing himself on his daughter, while telling her he "couldn't stop himself".

Judge Stephen Fowler, sitting at Laganside courthouse, said the man "was the victim's father and was in the position of ultimate trust. He was the one she should have been able to rely on to love and protect her".

But, the judge added, he had "betrayed that trust in the most shameful way".

He said the only identifiable mitigating features were his guilty plea, lack of record, and the fact he is "challenged intellectually".

He was arrested by police alerted in August 2017 to the would-be ice cream man - cleared by Access NI to work with vulnerable adults and children - and others using an online chatroom sharing indecent images of young people.

He initially made a no-comment interview, but a forensic examination of his mobile phone uncovered "in excess of 100 category A and B images" of children being abused.

In a folder marked "family images" were pictures of him forcing himself on his daughter.

In later interviews he attempted to say his phone must have been hacked. But his lie was revealed in a text - that he couldn't explain - which he sent to another paedophile who had complained that "grooming is a lot of work", to which he replied, "It sure is, I'm playing with my daughter".

When police later spoke to his "confused daughter", she revealed he "would force her", telling her he "was sorry, but that he couldn't stop himself doing this". He also told her not to tell her mum or anyone as "bad things would happen ... he would be taken away and arrested".

Judge Fowler said the man had also subjected his daughter to further degradations, and posting the images online was "a further humiliation".

"As I have already observed, those images once on the internet cannot be retrieved and are likely to be exponentially distributed by the paedophiles in this group," the judge said.

"The posting of these photographs was designed to increase his prestige and standing within this group. They had asked him what was he 'bringing to the table' and this is how he callously responded." .

The man was placed on the sex offenders' register for life.

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