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Guilty pleas Co Down man (24) admits raping 12-year-old girl after giving her vodka

Paul Sheridan entered guilty pleas to two counts of raping a child under 13, two counts of sexually assaulting a child under 13 and two counts of child abduction

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Paul Sheridan

Paul Sheridan

Paul Sheridan

A teenage girl watched court proceedings on Monday as a defendant admitted raping her when she was just 12-years-old.

With a jury panel ready to be sworn in to hear the trial of Paul Sheridan at Craigavon Crown Court, defence SC Seamus McNeill asked for all six charges to he put to the 24-year-old again.

Standing in the dock flanked by prison officers and with his victim watching proceedings by videolink, Sheridan entered guilty pleas to two counts of raping a child under 13, two counts of sexually assaulting a child under 13 and two counts of child abduction, all committed on 23 December 2019.

Following a two week trial last May, Sheridan’s accomplice 28-year-old Gerard McKenna was unanimously convicted of raping and sexually assaulting the 12-year-old victim.

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Gerard McKenna

Gerard McKenna

Gerard McKenna

 

McKenna was also unanimously convicted of sexual activity with a second complainant who was 15 at the time, offering to supply class A cocaine and two counts of child abduction on the same date.

The charges arise following an incident on the Lagan towpath when the two girls encountered McKenna and Sheridan who gave the girls vodka.

Despite being told that the youngest girl was only 12 years old, 

McKenna “held her hand and kissed her” before sexually assaulting her with his hand and having sex with her.

Sheridan, from Hillfoot Crescent in Ballynahinch, also kissed the girl and had sex with her.

He was not tried alongside McKenna as due to perceived threats against him, he went on the run around this time last year and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

That warrant was executed in early June and he has remained in custody since.

McKenna, from Rockville Street in Belfast, also remains in custody awaiting sentence following his convictions and following Sheridan’s confessions on Monday, Judge Patrick Lynch QC said he would sentence the paedophile rapists on 17 December.

Ordering Sheridan to now sign the police sex offenders register, the judge also ordered that a pre-sentence probation report is compiled on him.

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