June 2016

Man branded a “persistent paedophile” got 15-year-old girl pregnant

A man branded a “persistent paedophile” got a 15-year-old girl pregnant, a court heard today.

Details of 49-year-old Kenneth Rutherford’s abuse emerged as a Crown Court judge handed him a six-year sentence for sexual and violent offences against the teenage girl.

Rutherford will serve half his sentence in prison and half on supervised licence upon his release, after he admitted a string of charges linked to the girl.

The pervert, from Derrycarne Road in Portadown, Co Armagh pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting her over a period spanning from January 2006 to October 2007, assaulting her and breaking her ribs, and causing her to fear violence.

Belfast Crown Court heard that Rutherford embarked on a sexual relationship with the then 14-year old, which resulted in her becoming pregnant aged 15.

When she questioned his age and asked why he was bald, Rutherford claimed he was much younger and said he had no hair as he had cancer.

At a previous hearing, the court was told by Crown prosecutor Kate McKay that Rutherford and the girl met through friends, and at that point he said he was 22 – but he was almost 40.

Whilst she initially told him she was 18, it soon became clear she was underage – but he continued the relationship with her regardless.

They began a sexual relationship, and on some occasions they had sex up to five times a day.

Mrs McKay said that when the girl became pregnant with his child in September 2006, Rutherford “behaved towards her in a threatening manner, causing her to fear violence throughout that period, and in fact most of their relationship”.

In January 2007, he attacked her and fractured her ribs, and he also threatened both her with violence whilst she was pregnant.

The prosecutor said that during their relationship Rutherford was “very controlling”, which has resulted in a lasting psychlogical impact on her.

Mrs McKay also told Judge Kerr that Rutherford has a relevant criminal record for offences against an underage female, and is currently facing other sexual charges against a 15-year old girl.

Rutherford, the court heard, has been deemed both dangerous and of presenting a high risk of reoffending by Probation.

Mrs McKay concluded by saying that the victim, who is now 25, is “still very much suffering from the residue of this toxic relationship with this much older man”.

Defence barrister Seamus Lannon pointed out that Rutherford’s guilty plea had spared the girl “the ordeal of having to face court proceedings”.

Mr Lannon said that when first questioned by police about the girl’s allegations, Rutherford “admitted he was in a relationship with her but didn’t admit the wrongdoing”.

Judge Kerr branded Rutherford a “persistent paedophile,” and during today’s sentencing he said that after reading a probation report on Rutherford it was “absolutely clear that this defendent considers he is not fully responsible, and continues to blame his victim”.

As well as being handed a six-year sentence, Rutherford was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life, and was made the subject of a ten-year SOPO (Sexual Offences Prevention Order).