June 2017

Victim ‘vindicated’ after sex abuser pleads guilty

A woman who was sexually abused as a child by a Banbridge man has welcomed his guilty plea after he appeared at Newry Crown Court 

The 38-year-old Lurgan woman spoke after her 60-year-old abuser pleaded guilty to a litany of charges dating back to the 1990s.

The woman revealed she had been abused over a number of years when she was in her early teens and she was relieved he pleaded guilty ‘just at the last minute’

Kevin McStraw from Ballygowan Park, Banbridge pleaded guilty to nine out of 18 charges put to him including indecent assault of a female child aged under 13 on dates unknown between July 26, 1991 and July 25, 1992.

In total there were eight counts of indecent assault against the victim on dates unknown between July 1990 and July 1993 to which he pleaded guilty.

He also pleaded guilty to assaulting the same girl on dates unknown between July 1992 and July 1993.

And while he pleaded not guilty to two counts of gross indecency with or towards a child on dates unknown between July 26 1991 and July 25, 1992 these charges were ‘left on the books’.

McStraw also pleaded not guilty to six counts of indecent assault on the same child on dates unknown between July 1988 and July 1990, charges which were also ‘left on the books’.

He further pleaded not guilty to assaulting the same woman on dates unknown between July 1992 and July 1993, a charge also ‘left on the books’.

The victim said his guilty plea has vindicated her. “He had denied everything for many years and he just changed his plea to guilty at the last minute,” she said. “He let it go right down to the wire.” “All these years I wasn’t believed. Finally I feel vindicated,” she said.

The judge reserved judgement and the defendant was granted continuing bail to appear before Belfast Crown Court for sentencing on August 4.

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