Thursday 24 January 2019

Trial date set for millionaire Lotto winner accused of defiling teenager he met on internet

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Tom Tuite

A UK lotto millionaire accused of defilement and rape of an under-age Irish teenage girl has been served with a book of evidence and returned for trial to the Central Criminal Court.

The British man 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 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. That charge carries a five-year sentence.

However, 44 additional charges were later brought against him in connection with the investigation and bail was refused.

Some 35 of the new charges were 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.

He appeared again before Judge Victor Blake at Cloverhill District Court and was served with a book of evidence.

Judge Blake noted that the Director of Public Prosecutions had directed trial on indictment and he made an order sending the man, who is in his late twenties, forward for trial to the Central Criminal Court where he will face his next hearing in the New Year.

Earlier, Garda Stephen Faulkner had objected to bail on the grounds the accused was a man of “considerable wealth”, a flight risk and some of the charges carried life sentences.

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.

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.

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

Bank records showed he won a substantial amount in the UK lotto, the garda had told the hearing. The defence said the man, who has not yet indicated how he will plead, could face a two-year wait until his trial was reached.

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