A convicted paedophile who lured a six-year old girl into his Lurgan home where she was sexually assaulted, told police he knew all the children in the street.
David Page (42) of Ventry Lane, Belfast but who had been living at Albert St, again refused to leave his cell for sentencing at Craigavon Crown Court on Friday.
Judge Patrick Lynch said he wasn’t adjourning any further and sentencing was going ahead. A defence barrister said his client advised he wasn’t expressing any disrespect to the court but wasn’t coming to the dock as the case had generated a degree of public interest. At a previous court Page struggled with custody guards, claiming it was against his human rights to be put in the dock.
A prosecution lawyer told the court the victim had a pattern of walking every afternoon to her friend’s house, where she would stay until her older sister would come to collect her. On May 7 last year, the child was on her usual walk when Page appeared from his house and held out his arms to her. He picked the child up, before setting her back down and telling her to go into his house by the back door.
The child walked around and entered the house followed by Page. He offered her popcorn which she refused, before kissing her on the lips. He then rubbed her back, stomach and knee. The little girl became afraid and said she wanted to go home. At this point Page became angry and warned the little girl if she told her mummy or daddy she wouldn’t be allowed in his house again. The child fled and raised the alarm. Page was arrested but denied allegations put to him. He denied knowing the child but later told police he did know her as he “knew all the children in the street.” However, he denied the child had ever been in his home, and then changed this to say she might have been in as he often left his door open. On being challenged if he picked the child up, Page eventually contended he had but only as she was about to be struck by a car.
An extensive criminal record was disclosed including sexual assaults on a child, several other sexual assaults and a count of rape for which he was jailed for seven years. There were also repeated breaches of SOPOs (Sexual Offences Prevention Orders). A probation report showed he had never properly engaged with recommended offender programmes, ignores court orders and doesn’t accept responsibility for his actions.
In a victim impact statement the child’s mum said her daughter went from being a happy-go-lucky little girl to an angry child who blames herself.
Judge Lynch said: “The victim was a neighbour who had a regular pattern of conduct. Mr Page kissed the child and rubbed her back, stomach and knee in what it is clear were circumstances of sexual contact. He is a persistent offender in relation to sexual misconduct.”
Page was jailed for a total three years and his SOPO which was to expire in 2016 was extended until 2020.