Northern Ireland news

Police to question former GAA official Thomas McKenna on further sex abuse allegations

Former GAA official Thomas McKenna

A JUDGE ordered former GAA treasurer Thomas McKenna to be handed into police custody to face questioning over further sex abuse allegations.

A detective sergeant leading the investigation into the 59-year-old told Newry Magistrates Court she wanted to hold McKenna for 24 hours before bringing him back to court.

She confirmed to a police inspector “that the accused is not in custody for the offences for which he is about to be interviewed” while defence solicitor Gerald Trainor told District Judge Eamon King the application under article 47 was “by consent.”

McKenna, whose address is c/o Maghaberry Prison, is currently accused of the sexual abuse of 12 victims over an almost 30 year time span.

On one set of charges he is facing 10 offences against three males.

On a second indictment, the former GAA treasurer faces a total of 17 charges alleged to have been committed between 1988 and his arrest in August last year.

He is also charged with sexual assault, voyeurism and eight counts of indecent assault, along with making and possessing indecent photographs of children.

The retired postman, who was treasurer for Crossmaglen Rangers, is further alleged to have interfered with mail during his time of employment.

Previous courts have heard that the “serious and complex investigation” involves alleged victims who claim McKenna either sexually abused them or he took photos and videos of them without their permission.

Police searches led to the recovery of devices said to contain 43,000 still images and 8,000 short video clips - some allegedly taken covertly.

At the end of McKenna’s brief court appearance yesterday Judge King ordered him to be freed from prison but into the custody of the PSNI.

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