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Monday, 2 July, 2001, 19:45 GMT 20:45 UK
Abusing father is jailed

A 54-year-old Belfast man, who sexually and physically abused two generations of his family, has been sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail.

At Belfast Crown Court on Monday, the accused who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was found guilty of indecent assault, cruelty to a person under 16, and assault.

At the end of the two week trial in May, the jury found him unanimously guilty on 17 of the counts and guilty by a majority verdict of 11 to one of a further count.

He was found guilty on a total of eight charges of indecent assault, six of cruelty to a person under 16 and four assault charges dating from August 1974 to May 1993.

During the trial, the jury heard that he systematically abused his three daughters from when they were around eight-years-old until each of them left home between the ages of 16 and 18.

The daughters had given evidence that he would severely beat them for no reason.

His 15-year-old granddaughter, who was five when she was sexually abused, gave evidence through a video link.

While giving evidence on his own behalf, the man tried to convince the jury that his daughters had "conspired" against him, saying that his children were "very vindictive people".

He further claimed that life in the family home was "normal".

After he had been sentenced, he refused to sign the sex offenders' register, claiming he was "not a sex offender".

Sentencing him, Judge Norman Lockie told him that he had "shown no emotion, remorse or discomfort" while two generations of his family were being "vigorously cross-examined".

Outside the courtroom, his three daughters said they were glad "that justice had been done".

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