November 2017

Woman sexually abused in West Belfast left with post traumatic stress

A woman abused by a relative has been left with post traumatic stress disorder even though the sexual assaults happened more than two decades ago.

The victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, was abused by David Magee from West Belfast in the late 1980s/early 1990s.

He was jailed for 15 months at Belfast Crown Court on Thursday for indecent assault, with the judge telling him his actions have had a “marked impact” on his victim.

She was aged 15 when she was abused by Magee, who was then 30, the court was told. As Magee, now 59, was being led from the dock in handcuffs, he nodded to his family as they sat in the public gallery.

His victim was also present in court when her abuser was handed the sentence by Judge Geoffrey Miller QC. Earlier this year Magee, from Gransha Drive, stood trial on a total of 10 sexual offences. He was acquitted of eight charges, and found guilty of two.

Passing sentence Judge Miller, who presided over the trial, said Magee maintains a “robust denial” of the abuse, despite the jury’s verdict. Judge Miller also revealed Magee is planning to appeal the convictions.

Magee was found guilty of indecently assaulting the then 15-year-old in his Gransha Drive home on two separate occasions between November 1989 and April 1991. On both occasions, the abuse included Magee touching her breasts.

Speaking to Belfast Live, the victim said she is “relieved it is all over”, adding that she “can put it all behind me and get on with my life”.

But she added: “I still need counselling as I was recently diagnosed with PTSD by a counsellor appointed by the court. Hopefully I can get more counselling and come to terms with what has happened. I held all this in for so long, I bottled it up, that it’s obviously had an affect on me.

“But when all the Jimmy Savile stuff came out I decided I had to tell people. But even now I’m still having flashbacks.”

The lady, who is now 43, was so badly affected by the stress she had a heart attack aged just 39 which she blames on the trauma. Having told her GP and parents, she went to police and made a complaint which lead to Thursday’s sentencing.

She added that other victims of abuse should come forward, adding “it’s never too late”. She is now happily married with two children, she says.

On Thursday, Belfast Crown Court heard Judge Miller say Magee’s offending has had a “marked impact” on the woman due to the “trauma she sustained at this defendant’s hands”.

Judge Miller also told the court that as well as maintaining a “robust denial” of the offences, Magee “sees himself as the victim” of a campaign of malicious lies.

Saying society abhors acts of indecent assaults, Judge Miller said “there can be no question that the custody threshold has been passed… only a custodial sentence is appropriate”.

Before his client was sent to jail, defence barrister Mark Barlow asked Judge Miller to take into account several aspects – including Magee’s clear criminal record, the acquittals by the jury on more serious allegations, and also “there have been no more allegations made since before or after this complainant’s”.

As well as being handed a 15-month sentence, Magee will also be placed on the Sex Offenders Register for the next 10 years.

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