Belfast Telegraph

Tyrone man sexually abused his step-daughter

By Staff Reporter

A Co Tyrone man was yesterday convicted of sexually abusing his step-daughter and two other girls.

The defendant, who is now in his 40s, cannot be named to protect the identity of the victims.

He faced 13 charges - seven of gross indecency and six of indecent assault between 2003 and 2005.

Eleven of the counts involved his step-daughter, whilst there were single counts of gross indecency with the two other girls.

Scheduled to last two weeks, the trial at Dungannon Crown Court instead ran over double that, and well into the summer recess.

The first victim explained her step-father sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions over an approximate two-year period in various locations, including in Dublin for an All-Ireland GAA final.

She accepted instances in her life when she lied about situations, at times falsely claiming family members were unwell.

In her late teens, she began a relationship with a man whom her step-father despised.

The victim contended he spread malicious rumours among her family chiefly about her boyfriend's alleged abusive behaviour.

She maintained this was to get the boyfriend out of the way, as her step-father could not control him.

It was accepted the victim once told police she had been "forced to drive" a car by the boyfriend, when she was stopped on suspicion of being drunk. She also accepted reporting him for incidents of assault and rape, and later withdrawing her statements.

One false report against the boyfriend, she told the court, was triggered by a "flashback" of her step-father's abuse.

She also accepted the defendant bought her a car, but claimed this was an attempt to silence her.

There were, she said, enticements with considerable grooming in the process.

The abuse ceased, but the victim was warned by the defendant to disclose nothing, or she would be "cast out of the family".

Having initially retired on July 11, deliberations ran for three-and-a-half hours, before Judge Stephen Fowler QC called a halt.

The jury reconvened yesterday, continuing their considerations until mid-afternoon, when the judge advised he would accept a majority verdict.

After a further hour, the jury returned majority verdicts on 12 of the 13 charges, involving all three victims.

The defendant was cleared of one count of indecently assaulting his step-daughter.

Judge Fowler ruled pre-sentence reports were required, before ordering the defendant to sign the Sex Offenders Register.

Bail was agreed, with further conditions attached and the defendant was ordered to be electronically tagged, as well as reporting three times weekly to police and observing a curfew.

Sentencing will take place in September.

Belfast Telegraph

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