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We can confirm that a Northern Ireland man has been sentenced to 19 years for raping a girl in Wirral.
David Joseph McMullan, 32, was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court today, Friday 11 November 2022, after pleading guilty to four counts of rape of a child under 16. He was also handed a sexual harm prevention order for life.
McMullan, of Demesne View, Downpatrick, County Down, was arrested in Northern Ireland in March this year, and was later charged with multiple offences between 2019 and 2021 which occurred in Wirral, Merseyside. The investigation was launched when his victim reported to police that McMullan groomed and raped her.
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Constable Jennifer Davies, who led the investigation, said: “First and foremost, I’d like to highlight the strength of the victim, both in coming forward to report McMullan’s heinous crimes, and then throughout an arduous judicial process. Her determination and bravery has ensured that McMullan will now serve a significant time behind bars.
“No sentence can repair the devastating damage that McMullan’s abuse has caused and continues to cause to the life of his victim. But we hope that by seeing him face justice today will allow her some form of closure and begin to move on with her life in the knowledge that he cannot harm anybody else.
“This was a long and complex investigation, and we’d also like to thank the CPS for the excellent advice given during the investigation, which took us to this successful conclusion. The Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI) have also provided massive assistance throughout the investigation, and it shows how important it is that police forces work together across borders to bring criminals to justice.
“We are committed to protecting victims of sexual offences, and anyone who reports an incident to us will be safeguarded and supported throughout the investigation.
“Anyone that has been a victim of a sexual offence, is concerned for the safety of someone they know or suspects someone to be engaging in this criminal activity, should come forward and speak to us. We have a team of dedicated staff who will expertly and compassionately deal with your reports and we will do everything we can to bring offenders to justice.”
The Chair of Wirral’s Children, young people and education committee, Councillor Kathy Hodson, added: “These were despicable crimes, perpetrated against an extremely vulnerable young person who has shown incredible resilience. I want to acknowledge the professionalism of the Police and Catch 22 in supporting the child; and bringing the offender to justice.
"Wirral Council and safeguarding partners are committed to tackling all forms of child abuse, Child Sexual Exploitation remains a priority. We can all help to prevent child exploitation. I encourage those reading this to visit our safeguarding children partnership website and find out more about our specialist ‘Compass’ service, how you can spot the signs of exploitation; and help protect our children."
Senior Crown Prosecutor Wendy Scott, a specialist prosecutor with CPS Mersey-Cheshire’s Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) unit, said: “David McMullan is a predatory paedophile who is now, thankfully, behind bars. The Crown Prosecution Service’s work to bring him to justice followed a complex and extensive investigation by Merseyside Police.
“The police officer in charge, DC Jennifer Davies, worked closely with me and with prosecuting barrister, Frank Dillon, to build a strong case against McMullan, resulting in him entering guilty pleas to 4 rape offences.
“McMullan groomed his victim and met with her a number of times before the offences took place. Whatever he told his victim was happening, it was abuse and the violation of a child. People like McMullan have no thought for the feelings of the person they are abusing. They are merely a means to an end.
“But their actions can affect the victim for the rest of their lives. The CPS would not have been able to bring this prosecution without the courage and bravery of this victim to report what had happened to her and give evidence.
“She was supported throughout the prosecution process to help her bring her abuser to justice and has protected other potential victims from abuse. Bringing a case like this to Court is always a real team effort and we will continue to work together to ensure justice for victims of these life-changing crimes. “
Anyone with information or wants to report a sexual offence is asked to call 101 where you will be spoken to by specially trained officers or you can pass information to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
If you’ve been affected by sexual violence of any kind, support is available through the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Victim Care Merseyside service delivered jointly by two registered charities.
In Liverpool, Sefton and Wirral, support is provided by Rape and Sexual Abuse Support (RASA) Merseyside who are available on 0151 558 1801 and, in St Helens and Knowsley, by the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (RASASC) Cheshire and Merseyside who can be contacted on 01925 221 546 or 0330 363 0063
We have recently launched our plan to tackle the issue of violence against women and girls and help women and girls to feel safe and be safe across Merseyside. The link can be found here: Our commitment to keeping women and girls safe in Merseyside.
If you are a child or young person suffering sexual or physical abuse, the following organisations can also provide help and support:
NSPCC – call 0808 800 5000 or e-mail [email protected]
Childline – call 0800 1111
Missing and Child Exploitation Services - Catch22 (catch-22.org.uk)