A Co Antrim man tried to drug and rape his young daughter as part of an alleged campaign of abuse against unsuspecting child relatives, a court has heard.
It was claimed that the 39-year-old civil servant also sexually assaulted a niece and then targeted another girl he met online. Police allege that he made secret recordings and shared images with a paedophile.
The defendant, who cannot be named, was arrested after making disclosures to an undercover officer. He appeared at Belfast Magistrates’ Court on charges stretching back over a 14-year period including rape, voyeurism, administering a substance with sexual intent, sexual assault and sexual activity with a child family member.
Further allegations include sexual communication, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, making and distributing indecent images and improper use of a public communications network.
The defendant told the undercover officer that he began to molest his daughter when she was two, the court heard, and only stopped when she became old enough to understand what was happening.
“He put sleeping tablets in her tea in an attempt to drug and rape her, however the drugs had no effect,” a detective said.
He is also alleged to have taken videos of the girl’s private parts while she slept and to have filmed himself performing sexual acts in her bedroom.
The man also confessed to raping his niece when she was five during a sleepover, police said.
Neither his daughter nor his niece are fully aware of the offences the man is accused of committing, the court heard.
Earlier this year the alleged abuse widened out to an unrelated 10-year-old girl living in the Belfast area. During online chats the man persuaded her to send indecent images of herself which were then distributed to “likeminded people”, the court heard.
With the man posing as a young boy, social media apps Snapchat and TikTok were used to make contact.
Opposing bail, the detective contended: “This offending goes back 14 years, and we believe it has escalated to now contacting people outside the home during the day he’s meant to be working, and at night when his family are sleeping.
“This behaviour is compulsive, he has admitted having a fascination with his niece and an obsession with his daughter.”
Following his arrest the defendant claimed anything said to the undercover officer was nothing more than fantasy. He admitted having videos of his daughter stored on his phone but denied being sexually attracted to her.
Defence counsel Charlene Dempsey described her client’s actions as “deplorable”, but argued there was no evidence that he attempted to physically meet underage children.
Refusing the man’s attempt to be released from custody, District Judge Anne Marshall identified a high risk of re-offending.
“There is absolutely no chance I would grant him bail,” she said, as she adjourned the case to later this month.