Man jailed for three years

Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66
Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66

A man who sexually assaulting a seven years old girl has received a three year sentence.

Damien Martin Payne, whose address cannot be published for legal reasons, denied sexually assaulting the girl between September and December, 2015.

However, he was convicted of the charge by a majority verdict by a Derry Crown Court jury.

The court heard that the victim was aged between seven and a half and eight when she was sexually assaulted by the 54-years-old.

Payne was well known to the girl and her family and the assault took place in his home.

The girl had been out playing with the defendant’s grandchild and after a while they went into his house.

The court was told Payne asked the girl to sit on his knee, however, she said she didn’t want to.

The defendant got up, took her by the arm and put her on his knee.

Payne then touched the girl inside her clothes and the girl said this ‘hurt her.’

At one stage, the child told Payne to stop but he continued what he was doing until his grandchild suggested going back outside to her.

As the girl left the house, Payne told her not to tell anyone what he was doing.

The court heard the victim told two other children what had happened some weeks later.

Her mother confronted Payne and later reported the matter to police.

The defendant was arrested and during police interview described the allegations as a ‘pure, disgusting lie’.

He said he was not sure if the girl had sat on his knee and denied touching her.

In a Probation Pre-Sentence Report, the defendant maintains that he did not sexually assault the girl.

However, he did not offer any explanation for why the girl accused him, other than a fall out between the families some time previously.

Passing sentence, Judge Philip Babington said it is ‘quite clear that this behaviour of the defendant did have an adverse effect’ on the victim.

He said she had a ‘period of heightened anxiety’ as a result but it ‘now much more like her old self’.

Judge Babington imposed a determinate sentence of three years, one year will be spent in custody with the remaining sentence spent on licence in the community.

Payne will also be subject to the notification requirements of the Sex Offenders Register for an indefinite period and to a sexual offences prevention order for five years. This bans the defendant from having any contact with the victim.