Man accused of indecently assaulting stepsister in 1970s

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A 57-year-old Belfast man has gone on trial at the city’s Crown Court accused of indecently assaulting his stepsister in the mid-1970s.

The jury of seven men and five women heard that the alleged abuse was committed in the family home in a bedroom the then young girl shared with two of her stepbrothers.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denies three charges of indecently assaulting his younger sibling over a five-year period up to February 1978 when she was aged between five and nine or 10.

Prosecution lawyer Kate McKay said that the girl would play games, including doctors and nurses, with her two brothers in the bedroom they shared.

Ms McKay said that at this time the accused would have been aged around 12, and she remembered when she was four, five and six, her stepbrother got into bed beside her, but that nothing happened on those occasions.

However, on another occasion she allegedly awoke to find herself naked from the waist down, and stepbrother under the blankets with her, while on another occasion he pinned her down on her bed and she allegedly felt something pushing against her.

The final incident allegedly involved the man asking his sister to “let me” when she again awoke to find him in her single bed abusing her.

Ms McKay said the woman finally confided in her mother, who moved her into her own bedroom. When older she also told counsellors, doctors and friends and relations of the alleged abuse, before finally going to police.

As a result the man was interviewed, during which he denied any wrongdoing, claiming the allegations were all made up, suggesting as a potential motive the now grown woman not being invited to a family wedding.

At hearing.