Portadown man admits 11 sexual charges against children

Craigavon Court House.
Craigavon Court House.
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A Portadown man who pleaded guilty to 11 sexual charges against children has been placed on probation for three years.

David Ernest Forde, of Alexandra Avenue, was sentenced at Craigavon Crown Court last Friday.

The 51-year-old married man admitted seven charges of causing/inciting sexual activity with a child aged 13-16 and four charges of sexual activity with a child aged 13-16.

The court heard that the incidents involved two 14-year-old girls and two 15-year-old girls. They took place between June and August 2013 at a house in Birchdale Manor in Lurgan where the defendant was living at the time.

A barrister for the prosecution outlined how Forde contacted the girls by text and invited them to his house, paying for taxis for them. Once there, he gave them alcohol and cigarettes.

He said the girls recognised the inappropriateness of the relationship and rejected the advances, but used the house as somewhere to meet and, in some cases, drink.

He outlined how Forde would go up to the bath and then ask the girls to go up and scrub his back. Another time he asked one of the girls to lie on the bed with him. He also sent suggestive texts.

The more serious offences included grabbing the girls’ breasts and bottoms over their clothing and attempting to kiss one of them.

On one occasion he asked two of the girls to touch an intimate part of his body.

Defence barrister Greg Berry QC said his client had no previous convictions and that at the time of the offences he had separated from his wife, was drinking to excess and did not seem to remember all the incidents.

Judge Patrick Lynch QC said the girls had regarded Forde as a “dirty old man” - a view he too shared - but there was no sign they had suffered any harm. He ordered him to be the subject of a number of sexual prevention orders.

The activities came to light when one of the mothers confronted Forde and told her daughter to record what was happening.