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Paedophiles get additional jail time after newspaper story produces another victim

Mark Cuthbert (53) and his 48-year-old brother Gavin, from east Belfast, were handed significant jail terms last February for historic sexual abuse (stock photo)
Mark Cuthbert (53) and his 48-year-old brother Gavin, from east Belfast, were handed significant jail terms last February for historic sexual abuse (stock photo)

By Ashleigh McDonald

Two brothers had prison sentences extended yesterday after they admitted abusing a boy who came forward after reading a Sunday Life story.

Mark Cuthbert (53) and his 48-year-old brother Gavin, from east Belfast, were handed significant jail terms last February for historic sexual abuse.

After reading a newspaper article in our sister paper about their crimes, another victim came forward in January 2018 and stated he had also been abused by them as a child.

During sentencing for the latest offences, Judge David McFarland described the abuse suffered by the complainant over a five-year period as "harrowing".

He said that the victim told in a statement how "'it has turned by life upside down".

Belfast Crown Court heard that the boy was groomed, and that he was given "rewards" including £3, £5 and a tin of Lynx deodorant after incidents of abuse.

When the brothers were interviewed about the fresh set of allegations against them, both initially denied involvement.

However, after Gavin Cuthbert confessed to a host of offences against the boy, his brother Mark followed suit and also admitted his guilt. Gavin admitted 23 offences against the youngster which were carried out from July 1987 to June 1992 when the child was aged between seven and 12.

Already serving a sentence, he had an extra two years added to it and is now due for release in 2023.

Mark Cuthbert pleaded guilty to 18 offences against the boy when the child was between 10 and 14, over a period from July 1990 to June 1994.

He had an additional year added to his existing sentence and is scheduled to be released in 2022.

One victim told Sunday Life how Mark Cuthbert used his position as a football coach to target him.

He brought the boy back to his brother's home after training, where the abuse took place.

Now 37, the victim at the centre of the latest case came forward in January 2018 and was interviewed by police the following month. He detailed how, as a child, he lived in the same area of east Belfast as the Cuthberts, and would sometimes play football with the brothers in the street.

The court heard the Cuthberts had a three-storey house, with a tuckshop on the top floor of the property.

The boy was abused by both brothers, both in their home and his own, and on occasions he was told to pick something from the tuckshop afterwards.

When the latest claims of abuse were put to the Cuthbert brothers last April, the pair initially denied them.

Gavin Cuthbert branded them "a pack of lies" and said the victim had only come forward as he was "looking for money". A barrister representing him pointed out his client was a youth himself when he began offending.

He also revealed his client has had time to reflect on his offending and the impact this has had on his victims.

Mark Cuthbert's barrister said his client was "not a well man physically or mentally" and revealed that while living in Donaghadee he was assaulted by paramilitaries and "forced out of that town".

He also described his client as "vulnerable" and with a low IQ.

Judge McFarland extended the prison sentences of both brothers for the "sustained nature of abuse which took place over five years".

The judge also said that while their pleas spared the victim from giving evidence, the impact on him has been significant.

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