A 39-year-old man from the Newtownards area was sentenced at Downpatrick Crown Court on Tuesday 18th June for rape of a child and causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

The man, who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the victim, was sentenced to nine years. He will serve four years and six months in prison and four years and six months on licence. He will be placed on the Sex Offenders' Register for an indefinite period and subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) for 10 years.

Detective Sergeant Stewart said: “The betrayal of trust and abandonment of all semblance of care to the victim in this case, a child, was abhorrent.

“I would like to commend the victim in this case for her bravery in coming forward and working with detectives throughout the investigation. It takes huge courage to take that first step of reaching out and breaking the cycle of abuse.

“Tackling sexual abuse against vulnerable children remains a priority for the Police Service of Northern Ireland. We have specialist officers who provide support to victims and work with services dedicated to giving victims the help and advice they need.

"If you, or anyone you know, has ever experienced any form of sexual abuse, please contact police on 101 or call 999 in an emergency."