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Crime Newry

Newry Man Named as he Appears in Court Charged With Rape and Child Sex Abuse

By Paul Higgins

An apprentice carpenter appeared in court today (wed) accused of the rape and repeated sex abuse of a teenage girl.

Appearing at Newry Magistrates Court by videolink from police custody, 29-year-old Padraig Mehaul McLaughlin spoke only to confirm that he understood the seven charges against him including six sex offences and one drugs offence.

McLaughlin, from Ardfreelin in Newry, is accused of a single count of rape, alleged to have been committed on 28 December 2019 while the five counts of sexual activity with a female child aged 13-16 are alleged to have been committed on in July and September 2019.

The 29-year-old was also charged with being knowingly concerned in dealing and exporting class B cannabis between July and September 2019.

Members of the Child Abuse team in the Southern Trust arrested McLaughlin on Tuesday and speaking at the time, Detective Chief Inspector, Kerry Brennan, from the Police’s Public Protection Branch said: “Following a proactive policing operation, a 29-year-old man has been arrested for a number of sexual offences against a child, including rape. “This man has been wanted since 2020. He had been living and working in Holland, where he was found guilty of child sex offences and asked to leave the country in November 2021. “Working with Interpol, Detectives tracked him down in Northern Ireland to arrest him for the outstanding child sexual offences.

He remains in custody at this time.“As a Police Service, safeguarding children and bringing offenders of these crimes to justice remains a top priority. Those who seek to harm children in this way in Northern Ireland should be fearful of the consequence of their actions.” Anyone concerned that a child may be being groomed or at risk of sexual exploitation or abuse, please contact police on 101, or in an emergency always dial 999.

In court today (wed), Det. Const. McAleavey gave evidence that he believed he could connect McLaughlin to each of the charges and confirmed that subject to numerous conditions, bail had been agreed.

Those conditions include McLaughlin surrendering his passport, a travel ban on leaving NI, observing a curfew, residing at his home address, reporting to police twice a week, having no contact with the alleged victim and also no unsupervised contact with anyone under 18 “without the prior approval of police.”

Freeing McLaughlin on his own bail of £500, District Judge Austin Kennedy adjourned the case to 11 May.

Ends

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