August 2023

Child rapist accused of breaching non-molestation order from jail

A paedophile has been accused of breaching a non-molestation order from prison.

Although 29-year-old Gerard McKenna of Belfast did not appear at Limavady Magistrates’ Court, sitting in Ballymena on Wednesday, he was charged with breaching the order on December 19 last year at HMP Magilligan.

None of the alleged facts surrounding the case were opened in court and District Judge Peter King adjourned matters to August 21, ordering McKenna be produced “for attitude”.

It’s not the first time that McKenna, currently serving a nine-year sentence for the abduction, sexual assault and rape of a 12-year-old girl, has been charged from prison.

In September 2021, the drug addict father-of-three entered guilty pleas to charges of harassment, breaching a non-molestation order and persistent improper use of a telecommunication network on dates between December 2020 and April 2021.

Those charges arose after McKenna made a threat to his ex-partner that he would “cut her into a thousand pieces” and made upwards of 100 calls to her every week from the prison where he was at the time on remand for child rape

During his rape trial last April, the jury heard how McKenna and his friend, 27-year-old Paul Sheridan, “lured” two young girls away from responsible adults on December 23, 2019, giving them vodka mixed with 7UP before the pair raped the 12-year-old victim on the Lagan towpath.

The jury unanimously convicted McKenna of abducting, raping and sexually assaulting the girl, offering her cocaine and abducting her 15-year-old friend.

Sheridan, (pictured below) from Hillfoot Crescent in Ballynahinch, wasn’t tried with him as he had gone on the run under paramilitary death threat. However, when he was arrested, he entered guilty pleas to rape, sexual assault and child abduction.

At Craigavon Crown Court last October, McKenna was handed a nine-year sentence while Sheridan was given a six-and-a-half year sentence.

They were both ordered to spend a further three years under supervised licence conditions when released.

It is understood the PPS are set to appeal those sentences as unduly lenient.