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Cookstown men are convicted of befriending young sisters before embarking on sex abuse campaign

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

TWO Cookstown men have been convicted of historic sexual abuse following a three week trial at Dungannon Crown Court, on charges which occurred 24 years ago.

They refuted allegations that any such activity occurred, which in the case of both of the defendants involved a girl aged 13, with one of the defendants also targeting a younger sister, who was aged just 9 years old.

In graphic evidence, the elder victim, told the court one of the men would sexually abuse her, whilst the other "kept guard" at the door.

Warren Harold Abbott (aged 41) of Rathbeg and Kevin Thomas Kempton (aged 61) of Tullywiggan Cottages, denied all charges against them, each giving no comment replies during police interview and instead handing in pre-prepared statements.

Abbott stood trial on two counts of raping the elder girl, as well as two of attempted buggery and a single count of indecent assault.

Kempton faced a total of 10 charges of which seven involved the same girl as in Abbott's case. These involved three counts of indecent assault, with three further similar counts involving the younger girl.

The jury cleared him of four additional charges.

All charges occurred on various dates between 1994 and 1995 and began after the young victims moved with their family from Belfast to Cookstown.

Kempton and Abbott "befriended" the girls and this led on to sexual abuse, occurring in their own home, whilst their parents were at work.

The court heard one of the victims explain how her parents moved to Cookstown where they established a business. Both parents worked most days of the week and the victim and her siblings looked after each other at home.

She said Abbott and Kempton lived in the same street and would talk to the children in a friendly manner, during the Summer of 1994.

On 31st August that year the children were outside playing when Abbott walked over to the victim, took her into her own house, and then upstairs.

She explained, "He said he was my boyfriend and he loved me. He gave me his red football top to wear. He wanted us to get into bed together. I struggled but he raped me."

The victim gave distressing details of the incident which are too graphic to report, but which she contends left her very badly injured. Afterwards Abbott left and told her to look after his football shirt.

At school the following day, the complainant felt unwell, and repeatedly passed out. Her parents were called and took her to their GP, who sent her hospital by ambulance.

For a time there was no contact with either accused, but it was claimed Kempton then started meeting the complainant after school. Both men again started calling at her home again, always whilst her parents were at work.

The victim said Abbott would take her upstairs by the hand for sexual activity whilst Kempton "kept guard the bedroom door."

Following deliberations for around two-and-a-half hours, the jury returned unanimous verdicts on all counts against Abbot. His wife, seated behind the dock in the public gallery cried out when the first guilty verdict was read, and wept uncontrollably.

Kempton was convicted on six counts of indecently assaulting both victims. But the jury cleared him of four counts involving the attempted rape of the elder victim and three of falsely imprisoning her.

Applications for both men to be remanded on continuing bail were refused which his Honour Judge Stephen Fowler QC ruling due to the nature of the offences the outcome will "inevitably be custody."

He ordered the prisoners to be placed on the Sex Offender Register, with the duration to be decided at sentencing.

On being taken to the cells Abbott's wife rushed to the door of the dock and held onto her husband, until she was gently removed by prison staff.

Pre-sentence reports are to prepared in respect of both men and victim impact statements will also be submitted.

Sentencing will take place next month.

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