10 Aug 2022

Trial begins of Derry man (60) accused of indecently assaulting his niece (8)

A 60 years old man has gone on trial at the Crown Court in Derry charged with indecently assaulting his eight years old niece in her family home. The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is also accused of previously indecently assaulting the girl as they both sat on steps under a disused railway bridge along the banks of a river near her Co. Derry home. The defendant denies both offences which are alleged to have occurred between January 2003 and January 2007. A barrister for the Public Prosecution Service told the jurors that the niece and uncle were next door neighbours at the time of the alleged offences after which the defendant told the complainant not to tell anyone of what had happened. She said the complainant outlined her allegations during an interview with the police in June 2017 after she had told her mother about her claims. "In that interview she stated that when she was about eight years old, and she is able to give that age due to a piece of clothing she was wearing at the time - a yellow gypsy skirt - her uncle asked her to come for a walk with him. She agreed and they went under a disused railway bridge close to their homes and sat on some steps." It was then the girl was indecently assaulted and the offence was repeated in her home while the defendant show her pornographic photograph on his mobile 'phone. The prosecutor added: "She told the police that she didn't understand what was happening at the time but she knew it was wrong. She didn't tell anybody at the time and told nobody until she was seventeen when she told her mother what had happened. "You will hear evidence from her mother. She will tell you that in 2015 she went to her brother and challenged him abut the bridge incident. She will tell you that the defendant admitted what he had done and asked her to hit him which she did. A few months later she challenged him about the incident in the house and this time he denied that allegation although maintained that the bridge incident happened", the prosecutor said. The barrister said the defendant was then questioned by the police and denied the allegations and said he had never been at the bridge with his niece at all. The trial continues.

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