Northern Ireland news

Man (58) on trial accused of sexually abusing neighbour's child

The man (58) has gone on trial at Belfast Crown Court accused of sexually abusing his neighbour

A MAN in his 50s who allegedly told a six-year-old neighbour that she was "pretty and that she was hot and that he fancied her" has gone on trial at Belfast Crown Court accused of sexually abusing the child.

The man, now aged 58, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denies a total of 13 charges including engaging in sexual activity in front of a child, inciting a child to engage in sex, causing a child to do so, attempted sexual assault and abducting a child, over a three-year period up to September 2017.

Prosecution lawyer Neil Connor QC told the jury that when the schoolgirl was just shy of her ninth birthday and watching television with her mother she began crying, telling her: "You need to get the police".

However, the child said she could only tell her mum if given "a note pad to write it down".

She then wrote that their neighbour would take her into his house, and then into a downstairs bathroom and show her things.

Mr Connor said the child's mother remembered an occasion when she once had allegedly found her daughter in the man's house, despite his claims she was playing in the street with his own son.

Police later recorded an interview with the child who claimed that the neighbour would bring her into his house and give her a biscuit before taking her to the bathroom where he exposed himself. This allegedly progressed to more serious offending including making her touch him.

Judge Patricia Smyth and the jury were also told that on occasions when the youngster refused to go into the house, he allegedly would grab her by the arm and pull her inside.

When interviewed the man denied any wrong-doing, although he accepted she had been in his home in the recent past, but only when asked to fix her 'scooter', which he did. He also claimed that he was rarely at home alone, as other family members would be in the house.

However, he had no memory or recollection of the child's mother calling at the house looking for her daughter.

At hearing.

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