Northern Ireland

Man on sex charges against teenage girl in County Derry

The partner of the grandmother of a teenage girl has gone on trial at Londonderry Crown Court on sex charges.

The man denies six charges of indecently assaulting the girl and six charges of sexual activity with her in County Derry over three years starting in September 2007 when the girl was 13.

A prosecuting barrister said the girl became so distressed over her fears for her younger sibling she hurt herself.

She said the evidence against the defendant was "compelling and clear".

Opening the case a prosecuting barrister said the allegations were "repugnant and at times distressing".

On one occasion the defendant is alleged to have told the girl not to tell anyone, otherwise it would upset her grandmother.

He is also alleged to have told the girl that he knew a man who had gone to jail for child abuse.

The prosecutor said the girl then became concerned for her younger sibling when she started attending the same secondary school and when they were both regularly given lifts to and from school by the defendant.

The barrister said because of the girl's concern for her younger sibling, she became angry and distressed and felt both helpless and isolated. She began to self-harm in 2010 by cutting her arm.

The jury was told that when the defendant was interviewed by the police, he categorically denied all the allegations and said he and the girl's grandmother regularly looked after her and her siblings on behalf of her parents.

He told the police that every contact between himself and the complainant was 'proper', and the only reason he could think of why she had made the allegations against him, was because she was jealous of the attention he was giving her younger sibling.

The trial, expected to last five days, continues.