Northern Ireland news

Twelve-year-old was raped in Belfast park, court told

Laganside Court in Belfast

A jury sitting in Belfast watched a recording of a police interview with a 12-year old girl who claimed she was sexually assaulted and raped by an older boy she met on Facebook.

The girl said she met the boy in the Waterworks area of Belfast a couple of days after they became friends on Facebook, and that just minutes after they met, he pulled her into a wooded area in the park where he sexually assaulted and raped her.

At the time of the alleged offence in May 2017, the accused was 16. And while the girl was 12, she told the older boy she was 14, which was also stated on her Facebook account.

As the recorded police interview was played to the jury at Belfast Crown Court, the girl said that after meeting the boy in the park, he said to her 'do you want to do stuff?', to which she replied 'no.'

She said he then pulled her into a wooded area, and said to her 'just try it and if you don't like it we will stop.'

The girl alleges that on the evening of May 17, 2017, the boy subjected her to a sexual assault and raped her. She said the incident came to an end when they heard people close by and he ran off.

In her interview conducted two days later, she said the entire incident - from meeting him in the park to him running off - lasted around five minutes. She also said that during the incident, she was saying no and asking him to stop.

The girl said that after arriving home, she messaged four friends - one of whom told her to tell her mother as she could be pregnant. She then wrote down what had happened on a piece of paper which she showed her mother.

After her father was informed, police were called and the girl was subsequently medically examined and later interviewed.

In the interview, she confirmed that her Facebook said she was 14. She told police: "He asked me what age I was and I lied. I said I was 14."

When the accused was arrested, he initially denied that he had sex with the girl. However, he later 'confessed' to having intercourse with her, but denied raping or sexually assaulting her.

At hearing.

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