Detective Inspector Dave Hodge, from Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Public Protection Branch, has welcomed the sentencing at Belfast Crown Court today, Thursday, 8 July, of a man aged in his 50’s for a large number of serious sexual and other offences.
He received a 24 year extended custodial sentence for a total of 81 charges including multiple rapes of a child under 13, sexual assaults of a child under 13, causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, and making and possessing indecent photographs of a child. Charges also included offences of historical serious sexual abuse involving 3 elderly victims at two privately owned residential care homes, namely penetrative and non-penetrative sexual assaults, as well as voyeuristic offending against care home employees.
Detective Inspector Dave Hodge said; “Detectives had initially commenced an investigation in February 2019 into offences of serious child sexual abuse and arrested the male. During the course of our enquiries, evidence of significant, additional, unconnected offending was identified, initiating the investigation into historical sexual abuse at two privately owned residential care homes, which we believe occurred between 2008 and 2019.
“The man was then further arrested under a European Arrest Warrant and extradited back to Northern Ireland, at the request of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, and charged with these multiple offences.
“Both cases have been protracted and extremely complex, and I must pay tribute to all of the victims and families involved who had the resolve and confidence to come forward and put their confidence in the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the criminal justice process. This dreadful series of incidents of sexual abuse not only sadly involved two very young children but also a number of elderly, extremely vulnerable residents of two residential care homes. Many were unaware of the abuse, such was their vulnerability, and some of the victims have sadly passed away since the abuse occurred. I must commend their families who have come forward and fought for justice on their behalf. They have displayed immense strength and courage in seeing these investigations through to a successful conclusion.
“This has been an extremely difficult time for all those involved, and I hope that the victims’ and families’ tenacity and resolution to bring this man to justice will encourage anyone else who has experienced any form of sexual abuse to come forward to police.
“I would also like to thank our partners in Health and Social Care, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority and the Public Prosecution Service in supporting this criminal investigation as well as the victims and their families, and in helping us bring this individual to justice. The very successful outcome today is testimony to continued, effective collaboration between PSNI and our partners, as well as a mutual determination to, together, protect the most vulnerable in our society, and ultimately, keep people safe.
“I would like to take this opportunity to assure any victims of sexual abuse that they will be treated with the utmost sensitivity and respect, and I would continue to encourage anyone who has experienced any form of abuse to contact police on 101, or ‘999’ in an emergency."