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Teen who raped 13-year-old girlfriend as she ‘continuously said no’ avoids prison

The 17-year-old's defence said a custodial sentence would 'have a detrimental effect on his mental health and education'

Craigavon Magistrates Court

A teenage schoolboy who raped and sexually assaulted his 13-year-old girlfriend was handed a three year probation order today (Tuesday).

Craigavon Crown Court Judge Patrick Lynch QC told the 17-year-old, who cannot be identified to protect his victim, that while he “should be thoroughly ashamed” of his actions, based on his age and the contents of various medical and psychological reports, “I’m giving you what some people may regard as an extraordinary chance.”

“You better grab it with both hands,” said the judge, warning the teenager that, if he failed to comply with any aspect of the three year order, “that could easily result in an immediate sentence of imprisonment.”

At an earlier hearing the 17-year-old entered guilty pleas to committing rape and sexual assault on 5 September 2020 and also to common assault and sexual activity with a female under 16 on a date unknown between 1 August and 6 September 2020.

Prosecuting counsel Nicola Auret outlined how the offences came to light the day after the rape attack when the victim’s mother contacted police to report that “her daughter had been raped by her boyfriend”.

In a video recorded interview with specially trained detectives, the victim, who was just 13 at the time, told police she had been in the living room with the defendant when “he said that they should do it”.

“She said she didn’t want to but he pushed her into a chair and pulled down her trousers,” said Ms Auret, adding that although he stopped, when the girl went in to the kitchen he attacked her again, grabbing her by the throat, pushing her down, “biting her chest” before raping and sexually assaulting the schoolgirl.

“She continuously said no but he said it was fine. She said it hurt but he didn’t listen,” said the lawyer, who told the court that later in the evening, he sent her a message saying: “I think we should break up because I have just raped you.”

He also apologised and said “it was his fault and that he understood what he had done”.

During her interview with detectives, the schoolgirl disclosed there had been a further incident the previous month when the 17-year-old had touched her inappropriately and had sex with her.

Defence QC Gavan Duffy argued that a custodial sentence would “have a detrimental effect on his mental health and education” and urged the judge to follow the recommendation in the probation report that the teenage rapist was suitable to engage in a programme “designed for children who have engaged in sexual harm”.

Sentencing the teenager, Judge Lynch said he was taking into account the defendant’s age, guilty plea, clear record and the contents of the various reports.

In addition to the probation order, the 17-year-old must sign the police sex offenders’ register for the next 30 months.

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