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IRA bomber avoids prison for historical sexual abuse of two children

Judge Brian Sherrard told Darcy McMenamin (47), 'The fact is you were a minor at the time and must be treated as such today’

Darcy McMenamin

Tanya FowlesSunday World

A convicted IRA bomber who sexually abused two children while he was a teenager, has walked free from court after being handed a probation Order.

Darcy Gearoid McMenamin (47) from Glen Road, Drumquin who was released under the Good Friday Agreement, first appeared in court in 2020, a week after being deported from the United States as an undocumented migrant.

When asked if he understood the three counts of indecent assaults on dates between 1992 and 1993 McMenamin replied: “Yes, but I don't know what they are."

An attempt to have his identity banned from publication was rejected by the judge who remarked: " I don't feel I can intrude upon press freedom."

During an initially unsuccessful bail application a police officer referred to McMenamin’s convictions for violence and explosive offences, and pointed out: “The victims are terrified.”

The defence meanwhile insisted: “These matters are strenuously denied.”

That position remained as the case transferred to Dungannon Crown Court but efforts to get a trial underway were hampered while the defence sought reports on McMenamin’s health issues.

The case was revisited in September when the charges were put again and McMenamin accepted all.

Pre-sentence reports were ordered in which he stated: “There’s not a day goes by that I don't think about it and feel sick.”

Prosecution counsel took issue with this highlighting the length of time the charges were denied adding further pressure to the victims.

The court heard Victim 1 was aged seven when McMenamin asked if she liked games as: “I have a little friend who would like to play.”

He placed the child’s hand on his exposed genitals and said this was their secret and if she told anyone, “Bad men would take her mummy and daddy.”

The child was targeted a second time when McMenamin, “Reminded her of their secret.”

The terrified child fled but McMenamin followed, putting his hand down her leggings and carrying out a sexual act “the sheer force of which lifted her off the ground.”

He placed his hand over the child’s mouth and warned she would be taken away if she told.

Victim 2 was aged eight when she was playing hide-and-seek with friends and found herself alone with McMenamin in a shed, where he caused her to carry out oral sex on hm.

Judge Brian Sherrard told McMenamin: “If carried out today one of these offence would be rape, potentially carrying life-imprisonment. I bear in mind the extreme vulnerability of the victims and the very significant age gaps. You violated their safety. They still feel the impact to this very day … Both continue to suffer from intrusive thoughts… All of this is left at your door.”

He continued, “This court heard their lived experiences of childhood sexual abuse and it’s appalling, persistent aftermath. These appear to have been opportunistic offences, however their repetition reveals a degree of planning. The issuing of threats significantly adds to culpability. For a child to be threatened with loss of their family is exceptionally frightening and damaging.”

Judge Sherrard noted in the pre-sentence report McMenamin stated, “I have no words to explain how wrong this was. It’s disgusting. It should never have happened.”

The judge said, “Your reluctance to accept culpability caused the victims further trauma. It’s also concerning that while you expressed remorse you didn’t voice any clear perception that damage to your victims might be life-long.”

He concluded: “If you were being dealt with as an adult you would invariably have been sentenced to a lengthy custodial term. The fact is you were a minor at the time and must be treated as such today.”

McMenamin was handed a three-year Probation Order and will remain of the Sex Offender Register for five years.

Judge Sherrard declined to impose a Sexual Offences Prevention Order having ruled the statutory test was not met.

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