Fer­managh man con­victed of rap­ing girl (9)

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY STAFF RE­PORTER

AN En­niskillen man has been con­victed of rap­ing a nine-yearold girl.

Richard Fran­cis was found guilty fol­low­ing a 10-day trial at Dun­gan­non Crown Court.

The court heard how the abuse be­gan dur­ing a game of hide-and-seek. Later, when he re-es­tab­lished con­tact with the victim, she chal­lenged his be­hav­iour, which he claimed to have thought she “wanted”.

Fran­cis (37) of Wil­loughby Place was con­victed of rap­ing and in­de­cently as­sault­ing the girl on var­i­ous dates dur­ing 2006.

Then aged 26, he first sex­u­ally abused the child in a shed dur­ing a game of hide-and­seek.

The in­ci­dents oc­curred when the girl played with other chil­dren while vis­it­ing a rel­a­tive. Fran­cis lived nearby and of­ten joined in play­ing, de­spite a sig­nif­i­cant age gap.

Dur­ing one game, she and Fran­cis ended up in a shed, where he touched her chest un­der her tee-shirt, and warned her to tell no one.

The next oc­ca­sion she found her­self in the shed with Fran­cis, his be­hav­iour es­ca­lated to rape.

On another oc­ca­sion she was play­ing with Fran­cis’s younger sis­ter in their home. To en­sure they “would not be dis­turbed”, he locked his sis­ter in her bed­room be­fore rap­ing the victim.

The abuse ceased but af­ter sev­eral years, Fran­cis ini­ti­ated con­tact by phone text. Some of these ex­changes, which he de­nied send­ing, were read out in court.

He asked why the victim never came to his area any­more. On be­ing re­buffed, he asked why she was an­gry with him.

The victim chal­lenged Fran­cis stat­ing, “I was nine. You raped me.”

He replied, “I’m sorry ... I hope to be dead soon.”

The victim said, “Sorry isn’t good enough ... Was I the only one you raped?”

Fran­cis said, “Yes. I thought you wanted me to.”

She replied: “I was nine. I wanted to be the queen then.”

When Fran­cis asked what she wanted him to do, she said: “I don’t care what you do ... You should be in prison you ig­no­rant, ar­ro­gant, rapist, c***. You are as bad as Jimmy Sav­ile.”

Dis­put­ing the pros­e­cu­tion case, the de­fence branded the victim an ac­com­plished liar, stat­ing: “A ly­ing witness is a dan­ger­ous witness. They con­vince peo­ple they are telling the truth.”

But the jury re­jected this en­tirely, re­turn­ing guilty ver­dicts on all counts af­ter de­lib­er­at­ing for around an hour.

His Hon­our Judge Neill Raf­ferty QC ad­journed the case for the prepa­ra­tion of pre-sen­tence re­ports and a victim im­pact state­ment.

De­fence coun­sel asked for con­tin­u­ing bail, but Judge Raf­ferty ruled on the ba­sis of the con­vic­tion im­pris­on­ment was in­evitable and it was there­fore “not ap­pro­pri­ate” for re­lease.

Vis­i­bly shak­ing, Fran­cis sobbed on be­ing taken to the cells.

He was or­dered to sign the Sex Of­fender Reg­is­ter be­fore be­ing taken to prison.

He will be sen­tenced next month.

Rapist: Richard Fran­cis

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.