Northern Ireland news

Man (43) accused of sexually abusing ex-partner's young daughter

A man has gone on trial in Belfast accused of sexually abusing his ex-partner's young daughter

A West Belfast man went on trial today accused of the sexual abuse of his ex-partner's young daughter.

The 43-year-old, now with an address in Co Antrim and who can't be named to protect the complainant's identity, denies a total of 11 charges.

He pleaded not guilty to six counts of sexual assault, four offences of rape and one charge of sexual activity by an adult with a child under the age of 16.

The offences are alleged to have started in April 2013 when the girl was aged 10 and continued until February 2018.

At Belfast Crown Court today, prosecution counsel Richard Weir QC told the jury that the defendant and the complainant's mother started a relationship in 2012 and later moved in together the following year.

It was the crown case that the offences were committed both at the family home and also while on a family holiday abroad.

Mr Weir said that in April 2013 the couple returned to the family home after a night out drinking and said the defendant was "inebriated''.

He told the jury that the defendant was "lying on the sofa and the 10-year-old girl came down the stairs to get a drink of water'' when she was sexually assaulted by her step-dad for the first time.

The senior prosecutor said the incidents were "repeated and repeated'' and eventually led to the complainant being raped, including while on holiday in the sun.

Mr Weir added that once the jury had heard all the evidence in the case "you will be satisfied that he is guilty of these sexual offences against this child which started when she was ten and went on over a number of years''.

The trial continues.

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