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online abuse Court hears rapist's friends sent abusive messages to victim after his conviction

James McColgan was jailed for five years yesterday after attack seven years ago

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An Ulster rape victim was targeted on social media with “sexually abusive language” by the friends of her attacker after his conviction a court has heard.

James McColgan raped the victim, his then girlfriend, seven years ago.

Derry Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, heard how the victim was also verbally abused by a family member of her attacker as she made her way into court for a sentencing hearing for McColgan yesterday.

McColgan (26), from the Waterside area of Derry, was jailed for five years after being convicted last May after a trial for raping his victim who was 18 at the time of the attack in August 2014.

The court heard how she was subjected to an online “news feed” of “sexually abusive language”.

While McColgan maintains his innocence, a prosecutor accused the guilty party of “victim blaming”, saying that during the attack she “was in tears”.

“She begged him and begged him to stop but he wouldn’t”, they added.

The barrister said there was no evidence abusive online messages came from McColgan but that they appeared to come from his friends, even though the victim has lifelong anonymity.

Judge Gilpin described how in the months after the attack McColgan sent online messages to his victim, apologising for his actions and saying he loved her.

He added: “When you raped her you did so in the context of your established relationship with her. Any rape is a traumatic and humiliating experience.”

McColgan was also added to the Sex Offender’s Register for an indefinite period and had a Restraining Order imposed for five years.

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