Northern Ireland news

Co Tyrone man jailed for sexual activity with a child

The man was jailed for four and a half years

A Co Tyrone man has been jailed for four and a half years for sexual activity with a child.

Christopher Harley (34) of Glenhull Walk, Omagh admitted five charges of sexual activity with a child on dates between May 21 2013 and May 2015.

He also admitted a charge of sexual activity by an adult with a child on similar dates.

Derry Crown Court heard the abuse began when the girl was 14 and he was 26. A sexual relationship took place between the pair sometimes on a daily basis.

The court heard the girl absconded from the children's home where she was residing on numerous occasions and began drinking and taking drugs with the defendant.

The lifestyle was described as "chaotic" and the court heard the only occasion when there was a break was when the defendant was in custody for

offences relating to the girl.

The court heard that the relationship changed and the defendant became "abusive" towards the girl.

When Harley was questioned about his relationship with the girl he denied any sexual activity had taken place before she was 16.

He described the girl "as a wee actress" and denied keeping contact with her and said she contacted him.

The girl was said to have "complex needs" and told social services the behaviour "just really ruined me as a person".

The court heard the defendant said his behaviour was due to alcohol and he was "embarrassed and ashamed"of his behaviour.

Judge Philip Babington said there were a series of aggravating factors including the age difference, the element of grooming and vulnerability of the victim.

Harley was jailed for four and a half years, ordered to sign the Sex Offender's Register for an indefinite period and had a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for an indefinite period.

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