Northern Ireland

Francis McPeake abuse trial: Musician 'did nothing wrong'

Francis McPeake
Image caption Francis McPeake denies 12 charges of child sexual abuse

Traditional Irish musician Francis McPeake has told a court he made a "big mistake" in taking a schoolgirl and her friend on a day trip.

The 72-year-old denies 12 counts of sex offences against a girl who was 15 at the time of the alleged incidents.

He told the jury at Belfast Crown Court: "I have done nothing wrong."

Giving evidence for a second day, he said the teenager "insisted" on accompanying him on the trip to Bangor, County Down.

It happened four months after the girl's family had confronted Mr McPeake about the nature of his relationship with her, the court heard.

Mr McPeake denied that her mother had told him to stay away from the teenager, but said he was told she would no longer attend music lessons with him.

He said he had travelled to Bangor as he needed work done on his car.

A prosecution lawyer put it to him: "You didn't have to take her, did you Mr McPeake?"

He replied: "No, that was a big mistake on my behalf."

Mr McPeake also dismissed as "a lie" a suggestion that he had kissed the girl in front of two older women at a playpark in the seaside town.

He said the girl would keep turning up and harassing him.

When asked why he continued to agree to meet her, Mr McPeake said she had threatened to tell his wife he was having an affair with another woman, warned that she would call social services and said she would kill herself.

Asked why he had answered "no comment" when police put the allegations to him during interview, he said he was acting on the advice of his solicitor.

The trial continues.

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