A man who subjected his young nephew to a “campaign of sexual violence” has been handed a 15-year jail sentence.
Telling the 49-year-old man that he abused his position of trust “in the most appalling way”, Judge Donna McColgan QC informed the father of three that he will spend 12 years of the sentence in prison, following by a three-year probation order.
The man – who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim – was found guilty by a jury earlier this year of sexually abusing his nephew in his parents’ home in north Down in the 90s.
His young victim was just six years old when the abuse began, and it continued until the victim was 13.
Despite the conviction, the man continues to deny the offences occurred and maintains he is innocent. He has already lodged an appeal against his conviction.
During sentencing at Belfast Crown Court, Judge McColgan said the man’s offending has had a “profound” effect on the victim, adding the degree of harm caused has been “significant”.
Originally from north Down but now living at an address in south Belfast, the abuser was found guilty of multiple offences which included buggery and indecent assault.
During the trial, the jury was told the offending – which happened between October 1990 and October 1998 – occurred in the victim’s grandparents’ home.
The man, who still lived at home, abused his sister’s son in his bedroom, in a household which the Crown said should have been where the victim felt “safe, secure and looked after”.
Regarding the nature of the abuse, the Crown said a “wide range of offending” occurred, with the boy subjected to years of indignities and humiliation at the hands of his uncle.
The abuse took place when the man was aged between 23 and 31, and when his young victim was aged six to 13.
When he finally broke his silence and reported the matter to police in October 2013, the victim – who is now 34 – told officers that from as early as he could remember, his uncle abused him on a regular basis.
He also said that at the time, he feared telling anyone as he thought he would be taken in to care.
Passing sentence, Judge McColgan spoke of the young victim’s vulnerability due both to his age and the domestic setting at the time.
Saying the man abused his position of trust “in the most appalling manner”, Judge McColgan said a pre-sentence report indicated he continues to deny the offences.