UK lottery millionaire accused of defilement of Irish girl
A UK lottery-winning millionaire had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old Irish schoolgirl he met online and bought her a €2,500 designer engagement ring, it has been alleged.
A court has been told the now 27-year-old businessman travelled to and from Ireland by ferry, having sex with the teenager in hotels and taking her to Dublin zoo.
According to gardaí, he was fully aware of the age of the girl, who was 15 when they first made contact on an internet chat forum and is now 16.
Their alleged relationship began before the accused's lottery "windfall" and he was arrested when he arrived in Dublin at the weekend to confront the girl's mother about "his feelings for her daughter".
Despite garda objections, Judge Fiona Lydon granted the British man €200,000 bail under strict conditions, and with cash lodgements totalling €150,000.
He is charged with defilement of a child under the age of 17 in 2016 and 2017.
Garda Stephen Faulkner told Dublin District Court the alleged victim's mother made a complaint in January this year.
The girl said that she met the accused in an online chat forum, where she was in the under 17s category, and contact continued through Snapchat and WhatsApp, Gda Faulkner said.
The pair first met last year, stayed in a Dublin city hotel and "engaged in sexual intercourse".
She informed the accused of her age and that it was "her first time". This "did not discourage" the accused, the garda alleged.
It was the prosecution's case that he returned every four to six weeks until January, when the girl's parents "unearthed" the alleged relationship.
Gda Faulkner said analysis of the girl's WhatsApp account revealed 2,970 images - screenshots of conversations and recordings of sexual activity.
When he was arrested on July 15, the accused's phone had 69 images of an incriminating nature, including five videos of him and the alleged victim nude, Gda Faulkner said.
Gda Faulkner believed the man, who has "no ties to this jurisdiction", would return to the UK if granted bail.
Judge Lydon said under bail terms, the accused must reside at an agreed address, sign on twice daily at a garda station, observe a curfew and have no contact with the alleged victim.
He was remanded in custody with consent to bail, to appear in court again on Friday.