NewsNorthern Ireland

UDA child abuser escapes jail following suspended sentence

Allister Cousins
Allister Cousins

A UDA terror boss convicted of child abuse walked free from court with, “just a slap on the wrist”, his victim has claimed.

Sneaky sex attacker Allister Cousins was handed a 12 month prison sentence last Monday for abusing a teenage girl, but the judge suspended it for two years meaning he won’t serve a single day in jail.

Last night his victim, speaking for the first time, told the Sunday World she wishes she “hadn’t bothered” taking it to court.

“I couldn’t believe the sentence,” said the woman who asked not to be named. “I feel very let down by the justice system because all he got was a slap on the wrist.

“I put my family through three-and-a-half years of torment. I had to sit two teenage boys down and explain what had happened 25 years ago.

“But I was prepared to go to court and stand in the witness box and tell everyone what he had done to me.”

Back in February Cousins, who served several years in jail for terror offences, pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent assault on the daughter of a woman he was in a relationship with during the 1980s.

His sentencing was delayed until now after he claimed he was suffering from mental stress following his conviction which he said led to him being intimidated out of his home on the Shankill Road area of west Belfast.

His brave victim was brought to court on four previous occasions expecting Cousins to be sentenced but it was repeatedly adjourned when it emerged Cousins hadn’t bother to go to see his doctor to check the voracity of his mental illness claim.

On Monday that claim was described as “insignificant” and he was handed his suspended sentence and was also ordered to sign the sex offenders register for the next 10 years.

His victim says she had lived for years believing she was the only person Cousins had abused until she got a phone call in January 2012 from Social Services.

“I was in work when out of the blue I got a call from Social Services,” she explained.

“They told me that I was not to allow my children anywhere near him because they had received an allegation of serious sexual assault.

“That was the first I had ever heard that there were others. My stomach was churning because it brought back all the old feelings and memories which I had bottled up.

“Obviously I knew what he did to me so he never went anywhere near my kids but I was completely shocked when I took that call.

“I told Social Services that I knew what he was like and they informed the police who approached me to make a statement.

“Cousins was going out with my mum for years and he was effectively my step-father. I didn’t want to do anything with the police until my mum had died.

“At that stage there were several people who had made complaints against him but the other girls were unable to go through with it. I decided to continue and go ahead with it alone and was ready for court.”

Cowardly Cousins waited until the 11th hour on the morning when his trial was due to begin before he pleaded guilty.

He had been facing a string of other charges in a separate trial for alleged rape of two other women but those proceedings have been stayed.

In that trial Cousins had faced five counts of indecent assault, two counts of gross indecency, three counts of rape and a final charge of incitement to commit and act of gross indecency.

Those offences were alleged to have taken place in the early 1970s.

“Now I wish I hadn’t ever taken that call from Social Services after he got off so lightly. It opened up a can of worms.

“People are in jail for doing a lot less. There are shop-lifters in jail and there are loads of teenagers who got 12 months in jail for rioting during the flag protests.

“But I’m not going to let him ruin my life.”

Cousins has previous convictions but not for sexual offences. The court was told he had two convictions for robbery which were associated with paramilitaries.

Cousins had a long career in the UDA and was well known in loyalist circles in west Belfast.

He was part of the Salsbury bar UDA team and he had once stolen a gun from a cop and then used it to rob a Littlewoods Pools collector for which he was sentenced to eight years in jail.

Cousins had been holed-up in a caravan park in Ballyhalbert but the Sunday World understands he’s now living in a hostel somewhere in Co Down.