April 2010

Ballymena man jailed for 12 years for abusing girls

A man who raped one girl and sexually abused three others, including two sisters, has been jailed for 12 years.

Judge Gemma Loughran told John McGibbon Sloan he had committed an “indescribly evil campaign of sexual abuse against your four victims”.

Sloan, 57, from the Cushendall Road in Ballymena, pleaded guilty to two counts of rape, 12 of gross indecency and two of indecent assault.

The offences took place between December 1974 and February 1983.

The victims’ ages ranged between six and 12 years old when they were abused.

While each girl was attacked individually, their ordeals overlapped in time.

Belfast Crown Court was told Sloan was also abusing a brother of one of them, which he was jailed for in the mid 1990s.

Sending the former UDR soldier to jail, Judge Loughran told him he had “engaged in the grooming of these children because of your sexual interest in children and deliberately set out to selfishly fulfil your need for sexual gratification by exploiting your victims”.

“The court’s duty must be to signal society’s abhorrence of the sexual abuse of children and make it abundantly clear to people who engage in sexual abuse and who exploit children and who rob children of their childhood that they face substantial periods of imprisonment,” she said.

Sloan must also spend a further three years on probation and sign the sex offenders register for the rest of his life.