Saturday 18 January 2020

UK lotto millionaire accused of defilement of Irish teen girl further remanded in custody

Tom Tuite

A UK lotto millionaire accused of defilement of an under-age Irish teenage girl was further remanded in custody today pending directions from the Directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The British man, who is in his late twenties, was arrested in Dublin five weeks ago 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 was charged last month with four counts of engaging in a sexual act with a child under the age of 17 years on dates in 2016 and this year.

Bail with a range of strict conditions was set at €200,000 and he was remanded in custody. He faced his fourth hearing on Tuesday when he appeared before Judge Kathryn Hutton at Cloverhill District Court.

The defendant has not yet taken up bail. Garda Stephen Faulkner asked for the case to be put back for another four weeks for the DPP’s directions to be obtained.

Defence solicitor Paula Egan told the court today that there was consent to a two week adjournment only. The defendant was further remanded in custody to appear again at the same court on a date in September.

The alleged offences are under Section Three of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2006, which can carry jail terms of up to five years. Earlier this month the High Court refused to reduce the bail.

At his first hearing last month, Garda Faulkner objected to bail alleging the man frequently travelled over from the UK by ferry to meet the girl for sex and gardai have recovered videos of sexual activity from the defendant’s phone.

He had 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 alleged injured party outlined that she met him through a named online chat-room in 2015, the bail hearing was told. Garda Faulkner said the girl was subscribed to the under-17s category of the website.

It was alleged they exchanged details and then communicated through Snapchat and WhatsApp.

Garda Faulkner had 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 heard.

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

It was alleged the girl’s mother alerted gardai and an investigation began. CCTV evidence allegedly shows the girl in his company at a number of locations.

Gardai identified phone messenger WhatsApp as the main point of contact.

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”.

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

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

Analysis of his phone was conducted allegedly showing 69 images and five videos of the accused and the girl, the court was told. One image of the girl in her school uniform was taken when she was aged 15, it was alleged.

Bail has been set in the man’s own bond of €100,000 which has to be lodged. He also needs two independent sureties, each in the sums of €50,000, to be approved by the court.

In the event that bail is taken up he cannot have any contact directly or indirectly with the girl or her family, the judge ordered.

The other conditions of bail state he has to reside at an address in Ireland agreed by gardai, sign on twice daily at his local garda station from 9am until 12pm and 5pm until 8pm; maintain a 11pm to 8am curfew at his address and be available to gardai calling to his residence during those hours; surrender his passport and not apply for other travel documents; have a mobile phone which must be switched on 24 hours a day and he has to stay out of certain areas.

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