A Belfast man convicted by a jury of sexually abusing two young girls was starting a three-year stint behind bars yesterday.
57-year-old Gary McKee of Belfast was handed a four-year sentence at Belfast Crown Court, where he was told he will spend three years in jail followed by a year on probation when he is released from prison.
As he was being led from the dock and to the cells, a group of people in the public gallery called him a “dirty b*****d” and shouted “rot in hell”.
In June the defendant was found guilty by a jury of 14 counts of indecent assault.
At that time he was released on bail, but his barrister John Orr QC revealed he revoked his own bail.
In a trial that spanned two weeks the jury heard evidence from the two young girls, who emotionally recalled how they were abused by McKee – in the east of the city in the Eighties and Nineties.
One of the women revealed how she was abused by him from age eight until she was 15, while the other complainant said she was first abused after she finished P7 in 1988, with the abuse continuing until 1992.
He was aged between 26 and 32 when he assaulted the girls on numerous occasions
The defendant was interviewed in July 2017 and denied the abuse. He maintained this when giving evidence at the trial, claimed he had done nothing wrong
However, his version of events was rejected by the jury and he was convicted on 14 counts.
As he passed sentence yesterday Judge Stephen Fowler QC noted that he gave the girls money and sweets during this period and while he rejected a grooming element, he said this was more than likely to “buy their silence as to what he was doing to them at that time”.
Judge Fowler said after reading victim impact statements it was clear the abuse had had a lasting effect on the sisters, one of whom now displays symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
He said: “The abuse she suffered as a child was a harrowing experience for her and has had a significant impact on her life.”
The second victim, the judge said, also suffered “significant harm as a result of the abuse she suffered at the hands of this defendant”.
As well as passing down a four-year sentence, the defendant – already on the sex offenders register – was also made the subject of a sexual offences prevention order for five years.
Paedophile (57) found guilty of abusing two young girls
A 57-year-old man has been ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register after he was found guilty by a jury of indecently assaulting two young girls
Gary McKee of East Belfast showed no emotion as a jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on 14 counts of indecent assault against two girls
Despite denials of any wrongdoing to both police and the jury at Belfast Crown Court, he was convicted on all charges.
During a trial that spanned two weeks the jury heard evidence from both victims, who emotionally recalled how they were abused by Mckee in the Eighties and Nineties.
One of the victims revealed how she was abused by him from aged eight until she was 15, while the other complainant said she was first abused after she finished P7 in 1988, with the abuse continuing until 1992.
He was aged between 26 and 32 when he indecently assaulted them on numerous occasions.
The first victim recalled the abuse beginning with “small acts”, but as she got older and the abuse continued she began wearing extra clothes to try and stop him from touching her.
The abuse ended when she was in her teens, and she told the jury that she was encouraged by a counsellor to think about what happened to her as an adult.
Several months before she went to the police she wrote a letter to McKee telling him how she felt about what he did to her when she was a child.
The defendant was interviewed in July 2017 and denied abusing the girls
He maintained this when giving evidence at the trial, and claimed he had done nothing wrong. However, his version of events was rejected by the jury, who returned unanimous guilty verdicts on all charges.
Judge Stephen Fowler QC thanked the jury for the “close attention” they gave the case.
He then adjourned sentencing the defendant until August 12 and said this would allow time for pre-sentence reports to be compiled on the defendant and for victim impact statements to be taken.
The defendant was also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register.