Tuesday 21 November 2017

Lottery millionaire accused of defiling teenager he met on internet charged with further 44 offences

Stock image
Stock image

Tom Tuite

A UK lotto millionaire accused of defilement of an under-age Irish teenage girl has been further charged with 44 additional offences including rape, sexual assault and child pornography charges.

The British man, who is in his late twenties, was arrested in Dublin in July after he travelled to Ireland to speak to the teen’s mother about his relationship with her daughter whom he allegedly met through an internet chat room.

The wealthy businessman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was originally charged with four counts of defilement by engaging in a sexual act with a child under the age of 17 years on dates in 2016 and this year. It carries a five-year sentence.

He had been remanded in custody in July and remained there because he had been unable to take up bail set in his own bond of €100,000. Two independent sureties, each in the sums of €50,000, needed to be approved by the courts and he had to agree to live in Ireland and remain in contact with gardai.

However, today he appeared before Judge Bernadette Owens at Cloverhill District Court to face 44 additional charges in connection with the investigation and bail was refused.

She was told that 35 of the new charges are for defilement of the girl, there were four counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault, one allegation of assault causing harm to the girl and one charge of possessing child pornography.

Garda Stephen Faulkner said the Director of Public Prosecutions has directed that he is to face trial in the Central Criminal Court. He objected to bail on the grounds the accused was a man of “considerable wealth”, a flight risk and some of the new charges carried life sentences.

Judge Owens remanded him in custody to appear again next week.

During the hearing today, Garda Faulkner alleged the man frequently travelled over from the UK by ferry to meet the girl and gardai have recovered videos of sexual activity between them from the defendant’s phone. However, it was alleged she told gardai “she felt she was not in control of the situation”.

He said a complaint was made by the teen’s mother in January that her daughter, who is in her mid-teens, and the man were in a sexual relationship.

The girl outlined that she met him through a named online chat-room, the bail hearing was told. Garda Faulkner said the girl was subscribed to the under-17s category of the website.

They exchanged details and communicated through Snapchat and WhatsApp, he alleged.

Garda Faulkner said it was alleged the man first came to Ireland to meet her last year.

It was alleged they stayed in a hotel in Dublin and had sexual intercourse. She was aged 15 at the time and had told the accused, the court has heard.

Garda Faulkner alleged that the man came back by ferry every four to six weeks.

The girl’s mother alerted gardai and an investigation began.

The court was also told that gardai allegedly recovered images and videos of sexual activity taking place and “some recording during the course of sexual activity”. An image of her ID card with her age was found on his phone as well as photo of her in her school uniform, the court heard.

Last year he bought her a designer ring worth €2,500 telling the shop assistant it was an engagement ring, the judge heard.

His bank accounts showed he won a substantial amount in the UK lotto, the garda has said.

The court heard they stayed in hotels in Dublin.

He travelled over in July to confront her mother about his feelings for the girl, the garda said.

He said the girl has described the accused “forcing himself on her and other incidents where she passed out”. It was alleged she claimed the man had become violent and exercised control over her. “She felt she was not in control of the situation,” the garda said.

He agreed with defence solicitor Michelle Finan the man, who has not yet entered a plea, had no previous criminal convictions, that he had travelled to Ireland knowing an investigation was on-going and extradition proceedings had not been required.

However, Garda Faulkner said that when the man was arrested during his last visit he made his ferry booking hours before departure and was due to return later that day. Garda Faulkner believed he had done that to avoid apprehension.

He also feared the man would leave Ireland and evade trial if granted bail. The accused would be able to run his business from any country once he had an internet connection, he said.

Ms Finan said the man, who did not address the court, could face a two-year wait until his trial was reached and she asked the judge to note that the High Court had not refused to grant bail in relation to the first set of charges brought in the case.

However, refusing bail Judge Owens said the High Court was not aware that additional further charges were going to brought and they carried significantly higher sentences.

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News