A Co Down man will spend 28 months in jail for “crimes of a sexual nature” against a child as police praised his victim for coming forward.
Matthew Kerr, from Ballymartin, was sentenced to a total of four years and eight months at Newry Crown Court for a number of offences, including gross indecency and indecent assault.
The judge directed that half of the time should be spent in prison and the remainder on licence.
The 42-year-old will also be placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely and disqualified from working with children, in addition to being made subject to a restraining order for 10 years with regards the victim.
Police praised the victim and assured anyone that all such complaints – regardless of when they happened – will be investigated.
Detective Inspector Smith – speaking on Friday as Kerr was sentenced – said: “It takes courage for victims of all crimes, but especially crimes of a sexual nature, to come forward and report to police.
“Now an adult, the victim in this case has been living with the trauma of what happened to her, at the hands of someone she knew and trusted, for a large part of her life.
“Her courage and bravery to come forward to police and then aid us in our investigation should be commended.
“Today, she brought her abuser before the courts to answer publicly for his crimes. She was silenced no more and I hope that today brings a form of closure to her and her wider family.
“We in the Police Service of Northern Ireland remain committed to investigating all reports of sexual offences, no matter when they occurred. Please be assured that we have specially trained detectives who will treat all victims with sensitivity and respect – at every stage of the process.
“I would continue to encourage anyone who has experienced any form of sexual abuse to contact police on 101, or in an emergency call 999.
“Once you’ve made a report, you don’t have to come into a police station, detectives can arrange to meet you at a time and place that best suits you.”