Belfast man (71) found guilty of abusing his niece

Accused acquitted of indecently assaulting a sister of the victim in the 1980s

A man from west Belfast has been found guilty by a jury of abusing his niece - but acquitted of abusing her sister. Photograph: Getty Images.

A man from west Belfast has been found guilty by a jury of abusing his niece - but acquitted of abusing her sister. Photograph: Getty Images.

 

A man from west Belfast has been found guilty by a jury of abusing his niece - but acquitted of abusing her sister.

The 71-year old, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim, stood trial at Belfast Crown Court on six counts of indecently assaulting his two nieces over a three-year period in the 1980s.

The Crown made the case that the girls were abused by their uncle on a number of occasions when they were in their teens.

Following a short trial which began this week, the man was acquitted by a jury on Thursday on three counts of indecently assaulting one of the girls.

The jury of seven men and five women earlier returned majority 11-1 guilty verdicts on the other three charges linked to her sister.

Whilst they rejected the evidence of one of the women, the jury accepted the evidence of her sister, who told the court she was indecently assaulted by her uncle whilst babysitting her younger cousins. She said she was targeted by her uncle as she slept in bed when she was around 14-years-old.

She told the court: “I never told anyone. I was too afraid that I would not be believed. It would have started a riot in the family”.

The pensioner also gave evidence during the trial and completely denied abusing his two nieces on dates between June 1985 and January 1987.

After all six verdicts were returned, the man was told by Judge David McFarland that having been found guilty of three charges, he “will fall to be sentenced for that.”

The judge said he would allow time for pre-sentence reports to be prepared, and said sentencing will take place at a later date.

Telling the west Belfast man that he was being released on contining bail, he was warned by the judge not to take this as an indication “of what the ultimate sentence will be.”