Northern Ireland

Jackie Johnston jailed for eight years for sex abuse campaign

A County Down man has been jailed for eight years for a campaign of sexual abuse that lasted from his victim's childhood to her mid 20s.

Jackie Johnston, 44, originally from Holywood but whose address is now HMP Maghaberry, began abusing the woman in 1989 when she was around 10.

The last incident was in 2005 when Johnston raped her in her home.

Johnston will serve eight years of his sentence in custody and another eight years on supervised licence.

The court heard the victim was "sordidly sexually abused" by Johnston, who exerted his dominance over her for years.

'Intimidate and control'

A prosecutor said Johnston treated his victim "almost as his plaything", and said the "level of persistence in this accused's conduct belies his attitude towards her - that he could do with her what he pleased."

As a result of the sexual abuse, the woman now suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.

A defence barrister said Johnston had problems with alcohol in the past, adding his client "has been making the best use of his time in custody".

Sentencing Johnston, the judge spoke of the lasting effect the abuse has had on Johnston's victim, adding: "I have little doubt that he used his perceived status and position to intimidate and control" her.

The judge also said: "The defendant's level of control over the complainant was such that he felt he could do as he pleased, whenever he pleased and with complete impunity."

The judge also spoke of Johnston's "directionless and feckless existence" that included a criminal record of 49 convictions including charges of making petrol bombs and dressing like a member of a paramilitary organisation.

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