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Police hail child’s bravery as foster father begins four years behind bars for sex abuse

"No child should ever have to suffer and have their innocence taken away from them in this horrific way."

Police child PSNI stranger

Police have welcomed the jail sentence handed down to a man who sexually abused his foster daughter.

And they have commended the bravery of the 14-year-old girl for coming forward to report what was happening to her.

The man in his sixties, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim, had denied a series of sexual offences against the child.

But at Newry Crown Court on Thursday, he changed his plea to guilty ahead of going on trial, as he admitted five counts each of sexual activity and penetration, as well as two counts of inciting sexual activity – all involving a child family member.

The offending spanned a five month period – from May to September 2018 – and began with him kissing her neck.

The defendant first attempted sex with the victim in the shower room but was interrupted by his wife.

He allowed the child to have alcohol and cigarettes, including after one instance in which he again tried to have sex but failed, using a sex toy instead.

On another occasion, when the child was upset by an unrelated incident, the defendant hugged her and stated what he’d like to do sexually.

Following another instance of attempted sex, the victim ran away to her biological mother, however the defendant collected her and recommenced sexual behaviour.

He provided her with a phone to which he sent sexualised messages.

The child told a friend of the activity and was swiftly relocated while police and Social Services investigated.

The man will now serve four years in jail and four years out on licence.

He will be placed on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely and will be subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) for 12 years.

Police have today (Friday), welcomed the sentence handed down and urged others who may have suffered sexual abuse to come forward and make a report.

Acting Detective Inspector Bernie Dickman said: “No child should ever have to suffer and have their innocence taken away from them in this horrific way.

“The victim in this case should be commended for their bravery in coming forward and working with detectives to bring this abuser to justice.

“We in the Police Service of Northern Ireland remain committed to investigating all reports of sexual offences against children and young people, no matter when they occurred.

“Please be assured that we have specially trained detectives who will treat anybody who comes forward 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.”

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