April 2018

Stanley man convicted of sex offences against underage girls

A convicted sex offender has been warned to expect a lengthy term behind bars after a jury found favour with the accounts of his two female accusers.

Alexander Finnigan is experiencing his first taste of custody following unanimous guilty verdicts returned on 12 of the 13 charges he faced during a seven-day trial at Durham Crown Court.

The allegations were brought by two women who were both under 16, at the time the offences were said to have taken place.

Finnigan, of Lenin Street, Stanley, first appeared at the court facing the 13-count indictment on the day after his 55th birthday, last June.

The charges were not put to him at that hearing, amid defence suggestions there may be a fitness to plead issue.

But at the start of his scheduled trial, last week, the defendant, who has no previous convictions, denied all 13 counts, two each of rape and causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, plus nine of either indecent or sexual assault.

He was unable to offer an explanation why the women may have raised the allegations in cross-examination by prosecuting barrister Paul Reid, during the trial.

Following the guilty verdicts to all but one of the rape allegations, Judge Christopher Prince was asked by defence counsel Julie Clemitson to allow the defendant bail prior to the sentencing hearing later this month, “as a mercy” due to health issues suffered by both Finnigan and his wife.

But, warning him that he is likely to be facing a substantial sentence, Judge Prince refused, telling Finnigan: “I’m not willing to do so. You have showed no remorse and made these young people out, publicly, to be liars.”

He added that there were adequate health-care facilities available to him in prison.

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