October 2018

Child abuser described as a violent, arrogant “monster

Image may contain: 1 person, close-up

A child abuser described as a violent, arrogant “monster” who raped two girls has been caged for 20 years.

Keiran McKeown, 37, used violence or grooming to molest and rape the vulnerable girls repeatedly, then pretended nothing had happened.

He took photos of them to blackmail them into silence in his “campaign of rape”, Teesside Crown Court heard on Tuesday.

McKeown, originally from Northern Ireland, even bragged to one victim that everyone would think he was a “legend” back home.

“The reality is everyone back home will see you for what you are – a convicted child rapist,” said the judge, Recorder Gurdial Singh.

“All you gave them was fear and hate and abuse, and all for your sexual pleasure. You knew it was wrong.

“You knew you behaved like a monster. You’ve shown no remorse at any time.”

Prosecutor Richard Bennett said McKeown degraded his victims, calling them vile names when they refused his advances.

The judge told how McKeown plied one underage girl with alcohol, getting her drunk for the first time to sexually assault her.

He went on to rape her repeatedly.

He used violence to coerce her, grabbing, punching, kicking and strangling her, once flying into an “uncontrollable rage” and beating her as she curled into a ball.

“She was too frightened to tell anyone,” said the judge.

“She was petrified that no one would believe her.”

He said McKeown taunted her and laughed in her face in his “sheer arrogance”, exerting control and telling her she would not be believed.

She felt “physically sick” when he produced photographs which he used to blackmail her.

In a moving statement to the court, she told how her ordeal dramatically affected her life.

She said she had been a happy, outgoing girl until McKeown’s behaviour left her with “images I can’t unsee”.

She felt dirty, ashamed, stressed, low and anxious, convinced through McKeown’s manipulation that no one would believe her.

“I’ll always be affected by his disgusting actions,” she added.

“He could have put an end to this by admitting what he had done. I would have been saved from this turmoil.”

McKeown groomed and repeatedly groped a second underage girl, passing it off as a joke and moving on to rape her while she froze.

The judge said he did not use overt violence this time as his methods became more sophisticated, again taking pictures “no doubt hoping to blackmail her”.

She could not cope, broke down and told her employer, bringing McKeown’s offending to light with forensic evidence against him.

She later said she suffered stress, anxiety, depression and sleeping problems, affecting her everyday life and work.

McKeown, of Yarm Road, Stockton, lied to police and claimed he had consensual sex with the girls.

He put them through a trial in which they had to relive their traumatic experiences – accounts which the defence claimed were “nonsense” and “fabrication”.

The judge said McKeown tried to deflect the blame from himself to the victims: “The jury had little difficulty in seeing through that deception.”

He was convicted on eight counts of rape and six sexual assault charges, which he had denied, this week.

He had pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child and possessing indecent images of children.

He was cleared of one sexual assault against a third complainant.

He had 19 previous offences though none for sexual offending.

McKeown was jailed for 20 years and given an indefinite restraining order to keep him away from the three complainants and another woman.

Kieran Robert McKeown