Thursday 25 December 2014

Woman weeps as she accuses former rugby star of sex abuse

Deborah McAleese

Published 14/11/2012 | 05:00

A WOMAN who claims she was sexually abused as a child by a former rugby star turned politician cried uncontrollably as she gave evidence against him in court.

Former Ulster and Ireland international David Tweed, who is now a Traditional Unionist Voice councillor in Ballymena, shook his head as he sat in the dock at Antrim Crown Court where he is on trial for a string of sex offences against two young girls.

The media had been banned from identifying Mr Tweed, but reporting restrictions were lifted following a legal challenge by the 'Belfast Telegraph'.

Mr Tweed (53) is accused of abusing two girls, both now adults, over a nine-year period from December 1988 to January 1997. He faces 14 charges of indecent assault and gross indecency.

One of his alleged victims, who said she was in primary school when Tweed abused her, wept throughout her evidence.

For 90 minutes the woman, now 27, described to a jury of 10 women and two men a number of occasions when Mr Tweed allegedly assaulted her.

At times she became so distressed that her testimony was barely audible. She said that each time Mr Tweed, whose address was given as Clonavon Terrace, Ballymena, assaulted her she felt "so scared".

The second alleged victim told the court he "filled her with revulsion". She said that when she was younger she never told anyone about the abuse because she was "terrified of what he might do to me".

The woman said she had made an original complaint at Coleraine police station in 2007.

However, under cross-examination by a defence barrister, it emerged that no record of the complaint could be found.

Counselling

When asked why she did not mention the alleged abuse in a second statement to police in 2007, she said she was worried about how her future husband might react.

She said she only decided to bring the case against Mr Tweed after months of counselling.

The jury was told that three years ago Mr Tweed was unanimously acquitted by a jury of a series of child sex abuse charges.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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