May 2017

Belfast pervert had sex with child he met at bonfire party

A 40-year-old Belfast man has been found guilty of having sex with a 14-year-old girl he met at an Eleventh Night bonfire party.

Stephen Meneice, from Thompson House on the Antrim Road, was convicted of nine sexual offences committed over a two-month period in 2012.

Following a trial at Belfast Crown Court that lasted more than two weeks, the jury of nine women and three men deliberated for several hours before finding the defendant guilty of seven counts of sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 16 and two counts of sexual activity with a child.

While some of the verdicts were unanimous, others were by a majority of 10 to two. Meneice was also acquitted of one charge of making threats to kill the girl.

During the trial, the jury was told the offences were committed on dates between July 11, 2012 and September 15, 2012.

Prosecution lawyer Kate McKay said the crimes came to light when the victim told her father about the relationship and he alerted police.

During her first interview with the PSNI, the teenager said she met the defendant at an Eleventh Night bonfire party, after which he groomed her for sex

She described how Meneice would give her money and cigarettes and said the first time they had sex was at his father’s flat.

Ms McKay told the jury: “She told police that the defendant knew she was 14 at the time as she had told him she was 14.”

When Meneice was arrested by police, he accepted he knew the complainant and had given her alcohol and cigarettes, but he denied anything sexual had happened between them.

However, his version of events was rejected by the jury, who found him guilty of most of the charges.

Presiding trial judge Belfast Recorder David McFarland told Meneice he would be remanded in custody and sentenced next month, following the compilation of both a pre-sentence report and a victim impact report.

As he was led from the dock in handcuffs, the defendant said: “I am not guilty of any of these offences. F*** the jury.”