A 26-year Co Antrim man who raped a four-year old girl whilst her mother attending an evening class was today (Wednesday) handed a seven-year prison sentence.
As well as spending seven years in jail, the man - who continues to deny the sex attack, despite being unanimously convicted by a jury - will spend an additional seven years on supervised licence.
In addition, Judge Gordon Kerr QC added a further extended licence period of three years for the protection of the public - meaning the man will spend a total of ten years on licence after he has served his seven-year prison sentence, as he was deemed to present a significant risk to others.
Commenting on the length of the sentence he handed to the Co Antrim man, Judge Kerr said this was to reflect the “repugnance that all right thinking people will feel”, and the severity of the offence committed against the youngster by a man who was effectively her step-father and who continues to maintain his innocence.
Judge Kerr told Belfast Crown Court that after reading victim impact reports that were compiled in the aftermath of the rape on November 13, 2013, the youngster “reported feeling unloved and unwanted”.
The Judge also spoke of the lasting effect such as incident will have on the victim as she gets older, especially the potential for emotional difficulties when she reaches adolescence. J
Judge Kerr told the court that reports on the victim also suggest that she could suffer from long-term psychiatric problems including depression and anxiety, adding: “It is clear the impact will be life-long and serious.”
Also appearing alongside the 26-year old in the dock of Belfast Crown Court was the youngster’s mother.
She admitted a charge of doing an act with intent to pervert the course of justice.
The 27-year old, who set up home with her co-accused after meeting him in the internet, admitted lying to medics and police about the nature of her daughter’s injuries.
On the evening of the incident, the girl’s mother was attending an evening class and the little girl was being looked after by the man she called ‘Daddy.’ When she arrived home around 10pm, she saw bleeding around her child’s private parts and the youngster in distress.
Her partner told her the injury to her daughter had occurred when he swiped her handed away from her genital area whilst giving her a shower.
She asked a neighbour for advice and at this point she revealed what she had been told by her partner about how the injury occurred, telling the neighbour she was going to say that she had been the one showering the child as “she didn’t want people to get the get the wrong idea” about her boyfriend.
The youngster was subsequently taken to Antrim Area Hospital, and after being examined by several medics, the experts all came to the same conclusion that the injury was non-accidental and couldn’t have been caused in the circumstances the youngster’s mother initially claimed.
Whilst at hospital, the girl’s mother initially lied about how her daughter sustained the injury. She claimed that she swiped the youngster’s hand away from her private area whilst in the shower - but she later admitted this was a lie and pleaded guilty to a charge of doing an act with intent to pervert the course of justice.
The woman, who no longer lives in this jurisdiction, found out she was pregnant with her partner’s child on the same day he sexually assaulted her daughter. She has since given birth to a little boy, whilst her daughter remains in the care of her relatives. She has limited access granted with her daughter and is now “trying to rebuild” a relationship with her.
Telling her that she should have been more concerned about her daughter’s injuries than lying for her partner, the woman was handed a nine-month sentence, which was suspended for two years, by Judge Kerr. This sentence, the Judge said, was primarily for the welfare of her two children.